Victory's in Sight, Says Clinton
NEW YORK: HILLARY CLINTON has triumphed over Bernie Sanders with a clear win in New York, making it near impossible for him to wrest control of the Democratic presidential race.
Donald Trump also scored a convincing victory in his home state, raising the prospect that he could win the Republican nomination outright.
"The race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight," a visibly relieved Mrs Clinton told the crowds at her victory rally, as the Stevie Wonder song Signed, Sealed, Delivered blasted across the packed hall.
Mr Sanders had hoped to capitalise on his recent series of victories to secure an insurgent's rout. But Mrs Clinton's win has made it nearly impossible for Mr Sanders to overtake her in delegates needed to win the nomination.
Mr Sanders won only 39 fewer pledged delegates - those assigned through the popular vote - than Mrs Clinton in New York, putting him 246 pledged delegates behind in the total count. Optimists in Mr Sanders' campaign pointed out that there were still 1,668 pledged delegates to be won.
National polls have the two Democratic presidential contenders running nearly neck and neck.
But the overall numbers are now clearly stacked against him.
Mr Sanders needed to win 68 per cent of remaining delegates and super delegates - influential party officials - to beat Mrs Clinton.
Mr Sanders, a Brooklyn-born senator, remained defiant, vowing to fight on until the bitter end. "There are five primaries next week, and we think we are going to do well, and we have a path toward victory," he said.
Mr Sanders will now compete in a slew of north-eastern states, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware, which are expected to favour the former first lady.
A jubilant Mrs Clinton spent the hours after her victory looking to the national election race.
"We are going to go up against some powerful forces that will do, say and spend whatever it takes to go against us," she said. "Remember, it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up."
Mr Trump won 89 of the available 95 Republican delegates, giving him an important lead over Ted Cruz, his nearest rival, and moving him closer to the 1,237 needed to win the nomination outright.
If he falls short, it will lead to a contested Republican convention in July. Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, a long-shot candidate, came second in the New York primary with approximately 25 per cent of the vote to Mr Trump's 60 per cent. Mr Cruz came a distant third with 15 per cent of the vote. "Ted Cruz is mathematically out of winning the race," Mr Trump said yesterday (Wednesday) on Twitter. "Now all he can do is be a spoiler, never a nice thing to do. I will beat Hillary!"
Preparing to campaign in states that have been hit hard by manufacturing industry losses, Mr Trump's victory speech stayed focused on the economy and trade.
"Our jobs are being sucked out of our states," he said. "One of the big problems is economy and jobs, and that is my wheelhouse."
His New York win has prompted whispered conversations among Republican party officials about lowering the 1,237 threshold of delegates the frontrunner needs to clinch the nomination.
Much of the Republican establishment has come out in staunch opposition to Mr Trump. But if by the end of the primary season he is close to the required threshold, they believe it would become untenable to keep the nomination from his grasp.