Bombastic billionaire Donald Trump took an even closer step to the Republican nomination Tuesday night with wins in all five of the contested Eastern states. The property mogul was battling pressure in the so-called 'Acela Primary' from the newly-formed Stop Trump campaign but still came through resounding winner.
On a critical night in Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland the anti-Trump alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich took a beating. Even in Pennsylvania, where Cruz was expecting a large evangelical turnout, Trump romped home victorious.
Six straight wins leaves Trump with the momentum as they now move onto Indiana which Ted Cruz describes as "more favourable terrain" to his particular brand of right-leaning conservatism. The night started off brilliantly for Trump and only got better as soon after polls were closed Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland all declared for the New York-born candidate.
The latest results, as delegates continued to be counted, show that in Connecticut Trump won 16 out of 28 delegates, he won 26 out of 38 delegates in Maryland, seven out of 19 in Rhode Island and all of the delegates in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
These five states takes Trump up to 927 delegates with 651 still available, much closer to the magic 1,237 delegate number before the primaries wrap up in June this year. The Cruz and Kasich informal alliance means that Kasich will not campaign in Indiana, which votes on 3 May, while Cruz said he would not campaign in New Mexico and Oregon.
The Indiana primary is now even more crucial for Cruz, Trump's closest challenger in the delegate contest. He told supporters as the results rolled in that Trump was Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick. "Donald and Hillary, they are flip sides of the same coin," he said before turning his interest on the next five do-or-die states.
Flagging John Kasich cannot mathematically get the required number of delegates before the convention and will now rely on GOP delegates to select him as the best general election candidate. Kasich has won just one primary — his home state of Ohio.
Democratic frontrunner Hilary Clinton won at least three of the other states in a victory speech afterwards took a swipe at Trump saying: "The other day, Donald Trump accused me of playing the woman card. Well if playing the woman card means fighting for women's health care and paid family leave, then deal me in."