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US Presidential Contenders Chase Votes Ahead of New York Primaries

  • Ken Bredemeier

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump line up to enter the Mid-Hudson Civic Center before a campaign event in Poughkeepsie, New York, April 17, 2016.

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump line up to enter the Mid-Hudson Civic Center before a campaign event in Poughkeepsie, New York, April 17, 2016.

U.S. presidential candidates made last-minute appeals for votes Monday in New York, a day ahead of the state's crucial Democratic and Republican presidential nominating elections.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic contest, is throwing a night-time concert in a park with dramatic views of New York City's skyscrapers, a day after 28,000 people turned out for another of his rallies elsewhere in the city.

Pre-election polls in the state continue to show Clinton with a sizable lead over Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, but Sanders cautioned about the outcome. He told NBC he has won in other states where surveys showed him trailing heading into election days in the months-long presidential campaign to pick a successor to President Barack Obama when he leaves office next January.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks to Communication Workers of America (CWA) picketers in midtown Manhattan, New York, April 18, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks to Communication Workers of America (CWA) picketers in midtown Manhattan, New York, April 18, 2016.

"Generally speaking," he said, "polling has underestimated how we do in elections."

Clinton, with a double-digit percentage lead in most surveys, is campaigning in New York's densely populated Manhattan borough, while her husband, former President Bill Clinton, headed to rallies in two upstate cities, Buffalo and Rochester.

On a morning radio show, she branded the Republican presidential front-runner, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, as the "Donkey of the Decade." Clinton rebuked Trump, saying his proposals to curb immigration and temporarily keep Muslims out of the U.S. "basically in so many ways play to the worst instincts of people ... in violation of American values and New York values for sure."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with patrons at a restaurant in the Flushing section of Queens in New York, April 18, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with patrons at a restaurant in the Flushing section of Queens in New York, April 18, 2016.

GOP delegate numbers

Surveys show Trump, who lives in a luxury high-rise building in New York City, with a commanding lead in the state against his two remaining challengers, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich. But analysts are uncertain how many of the state's 95 delegates to July's national presidential nominating contest Trump will win Tuesday, with most of the delegates decided by the outcome of contests in localized congressional districts.

Trump has a significant lead over Cruz, and even more over Kasich, in national convention delegates, but it is unclear whether Trump will be able to amass a majority of delegates he needs to claim the nomination before the quadrennial gathering starts.

A boy wearing a Ted Cruz cap shakes hands with U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich during a campaign event in Syracuse, New York, April 18, 2016.

A boy wearing a Ted Cruz cap shakes hands with U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich during a campaign event in Syracuse, New York, April 18, 2016.

Generally, the delegates Trump has won in state-by-state voting are only obligated to vote for him on the first convention ballot, but could switch their allegiance to Cruz or Kasich on second and subsequent ballots, distinctly limiting Trump's prospects to become the Republican standard-bearer in the November national election.

Trump, whose name is emblazoned on New York skyscrapers he built, told one crowd at a rally Monday, "We love this city. We care about New York values." He then headed to Buffalo for another campaign event.

But Cruz, also campaigning in New York City, continued to attack Trump over the meaning of "New York values," which Trump says characterizes the city's resilience after the 2001 terrorist attacks that toppled the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, signs posters for his supporters at a campaign rally in Rochester, New York, April 15, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, signs posters for his supporters at a campaign rally in Rochester, New York, April 15, 2016.

Cruz says it means that the city's millions of residents "have suffered under the left-wing Democratic policies year after year after year."

Kasich visited smaller upstate cities, Syracuse and Schenectady, in hopes of winning convention delegates where Trump might fall short of capturing a majority of votes in individual voting districts. The party's rules would give Trump all three convention delegates in each of the districts where he wins 50 percent of the vote, but leave Kasich or Cruz with one of the delegates if Trump wins but falls short of a majority.

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