WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are hoping to replicate their recent New York triumphs in five northeastern states voting today.
Up to bat: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Tuesday, dubbed the “Amtrak Primary,” is the candidates’ second-to-last opportunity to secure large numbers of delegates all at once. After today, the delegate race goes from macro to micro, until California and five other states vote on June 7.
Clinton leads in Amtrak Primary
Democrats divide all pledged delegates proportionally, so Clinton is aiming to not only win today, but win big.
In Pennsylvania, the former secretary of state leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by almost 17 points, according to Real Clear Politics.
Maryland also appears to be a bright spot for Clinton, with her lead sitting at 24 points.
Most signs point to a slim Clinton win in Connecticut, which has 55 delegates, but Sanders hopes to close the five point gap that separates the two Democrats.
Rhode Island polls have been scant, but the most recent survey by PPP on Monday, had Sanders ahead by four percentage points.
All told, Tuesday is shaping up to be a very good day for Clinton.
“She would need to win just 35 percent or so of the remaining delegates from primaries and caucuses (if she wins four of the five states on Tuesday) to maintain her lead in pledged delegates. In actuality, she’s been winning 55 percent so far,” reports PBS NewsHour.
The word “inevitable” is floating around, and could soon be affixed to Clinton’s candidacy if all goes according to polls.
Trump strong in Northeast
Donald Trump mopped the New York primary floor with opponents Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) last week.
The billionaire hopes his hometown mojo will continue into the other northeastern states that were once safe havens for moderate conservatism.
Clearly, times have changed. Trump holds overwhelming leads in every major poll of the Amtrak Primary states.
With Trump on such a roll, his opponents are trying to pump the breaks on the front-runner’s endgame.
Cruz, Kasich join forces
To trip up Trump’s steady march to the nomination, which requires 1,237 delegates, Kasich and Cruz announced they’re joining forces in a handful of upcoming contests. Their strategy involves, of all things, inaction.
Kasich is pulling his resources out of the Indiana contest scheduled for May 3, ceding any prospect of capturing the state’s 57 delegates to Cruz, who trails Trump by an average of six percentage points.
Cruz will, in turn, not actively compete for delegates in the upcoming Oregon (May 17) and New Mexico (June 7) contests, where a combined 52 delegates are at stake. The second and third place Republicans’ plan is to take the other’s voters and deny Trump the bonus delegates awarded to the state’s overall winners.
Trumps calls the Cruz-Kasich alliance “collusion” and a “horrible act of desperation.”
Unbothered, Kasich chomped on food in Philly on Monday as he asked, “What’s the big deal?”
Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales