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What We Learned from the New York Primaries

Trump and Clinton won big, cementing their front-runner statuses

Republican front-runner Donald Trump won his home state handily while Democrat Hillary Clinton won by enough. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Republican front-runner Donald Trump won his home state handily while Democrat Hillary Clinton won by enough. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The two presidential front-runners managed to put more distance between themselves and their challengers with big wins in New York’s presidential primaries on Tuesday.  

Republican Donald Trump scored a convincing win over Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and will take nearly all of the state’s 95 delegates. Cruz, running a distant second in the nationwide delegate count, was shut out. Hillary Clinton’s decisive win in the Democratic primary broke challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders’ momentum, and she declared that the end of the campaign is in sight.  

Here is how analysts and strategists broke down Tuesday’s results:  

We’ve seen this train wreck before: “Donald Trump is on track to get the same percentage of the New York Republican vote as his supporter Carl Paladino did in the 2010 governor’s race shortly before he lost by 30 points in the general election to Andrew Cuomo. So I don’t know that his win in New York is a surprise or that it dramatically changes the likelihood of an open convention but it is another reminder that if Trump is the nominee, Republicans better get ready for Hillary Clinton in the White House. Because New  Yorkers like myself have seen this impending political train wreck before.”  

— Brian Walsh, Republican strategist and partner at Rokk Solutions
Serious momentum:  “Trump was expected to win New York handily, but now it looks like he may win close to all 95 delegates. After three terrible weeks for Trump, this big win will give him serious momentum going into next week’s multistate primary of mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. That said, after next week, the map shifts back in Cruz’s favor meaning Trump’s path to the nomination still depends on California.  

“Hillary Clinton won her ‘home state’ where she was senator for eight years, beating a 74-year old self-avowed socialist. If that makes her and her campaign team sleep better after a string of embarrassing defeats, good for them. Unfortunately for Hillary, it doesn’t look like Bernie Sanders is just going to fold up shop and quit the race because she won her first primary in a month.”  

— Ian Prior, communications director for American Crossroads
No surprises … except for Clinton: “Not a surprise that Trump dominated New York with a Yuge win.  When you think of New York, you think of Sinatra, The Statue of Liberty and The Donald.  And it’s not surprising that Cruz flopped there when you insult their values.  

“I am surprised by Clinton not doing better.  She was the senator there and it’s her adopted home state.”  

— Bob Kish, Ohio-based Republican consultant
As murky as ever: Anything less than a total domination of New York means Trump’s path to the nomination is as murky as ever. He couldn’t even win big in his home Manhattan congressional district. His children really should have registered and voted for him.”  

— Mindy Finn, former senior digital adviser to the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee
Sanders elevated key issues:  “Bernie Sanders started at 3 percent in the polls, making his final tally of support impressive in a state where Secretary Clinton served eight years as a U.S. senator.  

The issues he elevated — on income inequality, trade, climate, and corruption of our politics by big money — are clearly the key issues of the day. If Bernie has one overarching message, it’s that we can do a lot better as a society.  

— Dan Cantor, Working Families Party national director
On a roll: “Now this race is about momentum and winning and Trump has both.”  

— Scott Reed, campaign manager for Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign
The math isn’t there for Bernie:  “Huge win for Team Hillary. I had expected the state to be much closer with the heavy spending by Bernie’s campaign. There just aren’t as many Democrats in Tompkins County as the Bronx. The margin in New York should be a message — the math isn’t there for Bernie.  While the senator has had a tremendous and positive impact on the party, now is not the time to double down on attacks. That would be a disservice to his message and a handout to Republicans.”  

— Achim Bergmann, a Democratic consultant who lives in Upstate New York

Simone Pathé and Alex Roarty contributed to this report

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