Steinhauser: Primary wins move Trump, Clinton, closer to clinching nominations
CONCORD -- It was a clean sweep for Donald Trump and a big night for Hillary Clinton.
Trump, the Republican presidential front runner, won big in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the five states holding primaries on Tuesday. Trump took a large step towards reaching 1,237, the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
Clinton, the Democratic front runner, won big in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware and narrowly edged out Sen. Bernie Sanders in Connecticut. Sanders scored a double digit victory in Rhode Island, the only state on Tuesday to hold an open primary, which allowed independents to vote in the party primaries.
Trump, at a victory celebration and news conference at Trump Tower in New York City, said of the Republican nomination contest: "I consider myself the presumptive nominee."
"It's over. As far as I'm concerned it's over," he continued.
Trump added that it's too soon for him to talk about potential vice presidents, but said he's getting closer to that time.
"We're going to set up a committee in the not-too-distant future," Trump said.
Trump piled up the delegates, collecting 109 of the 118 pledged delegates at stake in the five states. His five-state sweep raises the stakes for the anti-Trump effort in next week's Indiana primary. If Trump can win in Indiana, he will stay on a narrow path to clinch the GOP nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will win at least five delegates in Tuesday's contests - all in Rhode Island.With 99% of the vote reported in Pennsylvania, Kasich was a disappointing third (at 19%) in the state where he was born and raised.
It was also a very tough night for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was contending for just one or two delegates, also in Rhode Island.
Asked about Cruz's move to vet candidates for running mate, Trump said his rival was "wasting his time."
Trump was coy when asked whether he would put New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie, who was standing behind him at his victory speech, on his short list.
"I think he's fantastic," he said of Christie, a former GOP presidential candidate who endorsed Trump.
In his speech, Trump turned his focus to Clinton.
"I call her crooked Hillary," he said
"Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get five percent of the vote," Trump told reporters. "The only thing she's got going is the woman's card. And the beautiful things is, women don't like her, Okay?"
Clinton takes four out of five
Clinton captured at least 190 of the 384 Democratic delegates at stake in Tuesday's primaries, with Sanders grabbing at least 114. Including the so-called superdelegates, Clinton only needs to win around 20% of remaining delegates up for grabs to clinch the Democratic nomination.
In her victory address in front of more than 1,300 people gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Clinton took a conciliatory tone towards Sanders and made an appeal for Democratic Party unity.
“There’s much more that unites us than divides us,” Clinton said before listing policy priorities that both she and Sanders share. “In an election we will have to work hard together to prevail against candidates from the other side.”
Clinton pledged that she would be back in Philadelphia, where the Democratic nomination will be held in late July, with the most votes and pledged delegates and promised that "we will unify our party to win this election and build an America where we all rise together."
Clinton focused criticism on the Republican candidates, rather than her primary opponent. She made a pitch to voters outside the Democratic party, suggesting some may not be happy with the Republican options.
"If you are a Democrat an independent or a thoughtful Republican you know that their approach is not going to build an America where we increase opportunity or decrease inequality," Clinton said.
Sanders, in a speech earlier in the evening in Huntington, West Virginia, vowed to continue his Democratic primary campaign.
Democrats: (2,383 to clinch): Clinton 2,141 (incl. 519 superdelegates; 242 short); Sanders 1,321 (incl. 39 superdelegates; 1,062 short)
GOP: (1,237 to win): Trump 950 (287 short); Cruz 560 (677 short); Kasich 153 (1,084 short).
The AP contributed to this report