Trump pulls off clean sweep of 5 Northeast primaries

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, campaigns during a rally on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, campaigns during a rally on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Donald Trump swept all five Republican primaries Tuesday, a commanding showing across the Northeast that keeps the Republican front-runner on his narrow path to the GOP nomination. Hillary Clinton carried Democratic contests in Maryland and Delaware, the start of what her campaign hoped would be a strong night for the former secretary of state.

Trump’s victories came in Maryland, as well as Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. His strong showing was a blow to rivals who are running out of ways to stop the brash billionaire.

Clinton aimed to emerge from Tuesday’s contests on the brink of becoming the first woman nominated by a major party. She’s already increasingly looking past rival Bernie Sanders, even as the Vermont senator vows to stay in the race until primary voting ends in June.

Sanders spent Tuesday campaigning in West Virginia, where he drew several thousand people to a lively evening rally. He urged his supporters to recognize that they are “powerful people if you choose to exercise that power.”

Still, there were some signs that Sanders’ campaign was coming to grips with his difficult position. Top aide Tad Devine said that after Tuesday’s results were known, “we’ll decide what we’re going to do going forward.”

Trump’s victories padded his delegate totals, yet the Republican contest remains chaotic. The businessman is the only candidate left in the three-person race who could possibly clinch the nomination through the regular voting process, yet he could still fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs.

GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich are desperately trying to keep him from that magic number and push the race to a convention fight, where complicated rules would govern the nominating process. The Texas senator and Ohio governor even took the rare step of announcing plans to coordinate in upcoming contests to try to minimize Trump’s delegate totals.

But that effort did little to stop Trump from a big showing in the Northeast.

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