, WASHINGTON, United States, Apr 27 – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were a giant step closer to their parties’ presidential nominations Wednesday after crushing their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in a string of presidential primaries.
Clinton has now virtually cleared the way to become the Democratic nominee in the November presidential election, the first woman in US history to reach that milestone.
The former secretary of state won four out of five primaries Tuesday in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and the night’s big prize, the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
She conceded only the small state of Rhode Island to rival Bernie Sanders in a near sweep that gives her an almost insurmountable delegate lead.
Clinton now has 2,168 delegates, including more than 500 “super-delegates,” against Sanders’s 1,401, with about 1,000 more to be distributed in the 14 remaining nominating races. She needs 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.
“What a great night,” Clinton told a thrilled crowd of supporters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The 68-year-old former first lady telegraphed her eagerness to shift toward the general election and a showdown with Republicans.
“Let’s go forward, let’s win the nomination, and in July let’s return as a unified party,” she said.
Clinton’s strong showing heaps pressure on the well-funded Sanders, a self-styled democratic socialist senator from Vermont who vowed to battle on until the California primary on June 7.
“The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast,” Sanders said in a statement.
“That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform.”
– ‘Presumptive nominee’ –
Trump swept all five presidential races held Tuesday, strengthening his grip on the Republican race.
He demolished his rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — a stunning show of force by a candidate seen as a populist political savior by millions despite being loathed by the party establishment.
“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” the real estate mogul told a crowd at Trump Tower in New York, despite still being short of the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination outright.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.”