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Polls Close In New York Democratic, Republican Primaries


Polls closed just a few minutes ago in New York, a state that 3 of the 5 presidential candidates claim as home. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump started the day ahead in their respective races. All of the candidates have been campaigning hard in the city and upstate. NPR's Sarah McCammon is with the Trump campaign at - where else but Trump Tower in Manhattan. Hello, Sarah.


MCEVERS: And joining us in the studio is NPR's political editor Ron Elving. Welcome to you.


MCEVERS: And Ron, the AP is projecting Donald Trump is the winner in the Republican primary in New York. What does this mean for Donald Trump?

ELVING: There was no suspense tonight. We don't think we expected any, but right now, it looks like it might be more interesting to see who finishes second between runners-up John Kasich and Ted Cruz. Right now John Kasich is running a little ahead of Ted Cruz who obviously has been the stronger candidate in previous primaries in other states.

MCEVERS: What could a second-place positioning mean for John Kasich?

ELVING: John Kasich needs to have a rationale going forward for his candidacy. He has won only his home state of Ohio. And if he can pick up some delegates in New York tonight - and of course, it looks as though Donald Trump will get the lion's share of these delegates, winning - if he does win - over 50 percent statewide. That'll give him 14 right there.

It looks like he'll be over 50 percent in many of the separate congressional districts, and that could give him a big boost toward another 81 delegates on top of that. But John Kasich has at least a shot, if he can get over the 20 percent threshold, of getting a delegate here and there.

MCEVERS: Sarah, you are there with Trump supporters, as we said. What's happening?

MCCAMMON: Well, we're waiting for Donald Trump to give a speech as he often does on big primary nights. He's holding a press conference rather than a rally, and he's expected to come down - I believe, down the golden escalators which we can see here in Trump tower and speak soon, mostly to media as well as some supporters who are gathered here.

And you know, just to Ron's point, Trump was sort of taunting Cruz last night at his final rally before the New York Primary in Buffalo, saying, wouldn't it be funny if Ted Cruz came in third. That could happen. Cruz has been polling third, a little bit behind Kasich in the polls here. But again, you know, Trump is the clear winner. The question, though, is how many delegates he's going to get at the end of the day.

MCEVERS: Right. That is the question. I mean, how much closer does this get him to that magic number of 1,237?

MCCAMMON: Well, you know, some of his campaign advisers have been saying they were hopeful for a sweep, but he'd at least get 85 or so of the 95 delegates. I was hearing that from his campaign co-chair in New York Carl Paladino this week.

Tonight, though, Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, came out, talked to reporters briefly and said, you know, there are 27 congressional districts. There are three candidates. Getting over 50 percent in every one of those districts and statewide is an unrealistic expectation - so managing expectations a little bit. It sounds like they're expecting him to do obviously very well but maybe not get all 95 delegates.

MCEVERS: Ron, let's talk about the Democrats. I think that race is too early to tell. We've got Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders waging a bitter fight for New York. Is this a sign of how important this race is for both of them?

ELVING: No question - this race is almost existential for Bernie Sanders because not only is he a native of New York. Of course he represents Vermont in the Senate, but he has closely identified himself with the movements that have been popular in New York, such as Occupy Wall Street - things of that nature. He has campaigned as a campaign - as a progressive, as some - a man of the left, if you will. And if he can't sell that in New York, if he can't sell it in the five boroughs of New York in particular, then it's difficult to see how he does at next week in Pennsylvania and Maryland and Delaware and how he would do it in the remaining primaries in May and June.

MCEVERS: Ron, what are you looking at for the Democrats as the results start to come in here tonight?

ELVING: We're looking at exit polls that indicate things that would seem to be good news for Hillary Clinton, among other things. Sixty-four percent of Democrats are telling exit pollsters that they think Hillary Clinton has the better chance to win in November and that that's really important to them. Well, that would seem to be a pretty strong indicator she's going to do well.

Also, 67 percent of the Democrats talking to exit pollsters said that they felt energized by the campaign, and only half that number thought that it had been a divisive campaign, even with Bernie Sanders hanging in there and giving Hillary Clinton all she can handle.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Ron Elving and Sarah McCammon. Thanks to you both.

ELVING: Thank you, Kelly.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for