Reports of Donald Trump’s demise have been overstated. After a disappointing few weeks, Trump came roaring back on Tuesday night with a huge victory in his home state of New York.
It was nothing short of a crushing defeat for anti-Trump forces. Victory in the New York primary, Club for Growth president David McIntosh told National Review earlier this month, would be achieved by “getting Trump under 50 percent,” the threshold at which a candidate secures all 14 of the statewide delegates. Every delegate counts at this point, since Trump’s victory on the first ballot of the convention hangs in the balance. Keeping the real-estate mogul under 50 percent could have deprived him of perhaps 20 delegates, depending on how well he did in each of the congressional districts.
But there would be no stopping Trump on this night. He won more than 60 percent of the vote, taking all but a few of New York’s 95 delegates.
It was clear for some time leading up to the primary that anything other than a major Trump victory was unlikely. Neither John Kasich nor Ted Cruz spent election night in New York. Cruz, who came in third, spoke from Philadelphia before polls even closed in New York — a recognition that this would not be a night for celebration.
The only small bright spot for Trump’s foes was that Kasich managed to peel off a handful of delegates, which his campaign will likely spin as a good omen with the race now moving into other mid-Atlantic states, where Trump will not have a home-field advantage.
Trump won more than 60 percent of the vote, taking all but a few of New York’s 95 delegates.
As the results stand, Kasich is slated to pick up five delegates. It will be the first time Kasich has won any since his home state of Ohio voted on March 15. It is a victory of sorts — in Trump’s home state, where every poll leading up to the primary showed the mogul easily clearing the 50 percent threshold to take all 14 statewide delegates, the best Kasich and Cruz could hope for was to pick off a few of the 81 delegates allotted by congressional district.
Kasich’s small wins came from two New York City congressional districts, an Albany-area district, and a Syracuse-area district where Trump failed to top the 50 percent mark. With all the candidates under 50 percent in a district, the top vote-getter is awarded two delegates and the second-place finisher receives one.
Since Ohio, Kasich’s team has said it would target specific congressional districts where it thought he could do well and pick up delegates. In New York, a look at where he campaigned over the past two weeks suggests some of that targeting was successful.
#share#Kasich spent Monday, April 10 in Albany, Troy, and Saratoga Springs — all part of the 20th district, where he picked up one delegate. From there, he headed to New York City, where he gave a speech at a Republican Women’s Club on the East Side, in the twelfth district, where he will pick up two delegates after besting Trump by 70 votes. On April 16, he held two events in Great Neck, part of the tenth congressional district, where he won a delegate. On April 18 he went from Syracuse, in the 20th district, to Schenectady, in the 24th district, which awarded him another delegate.
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Not all of Kasich’s efforts were successful, of course. He spent a whole day campaigning in Watertown and Utica, in the 21st and 22nd districts, both of which Trump ultimately carried with more than 50 percent of the vote. In both districts, Trump won with just 53 percent — a clear victory, to be sure, but a smaller one than in other districts where he easily won 60 or even 70 percent.
Still, Kasich remains in fourth place in the delegate race, about 20 delegates behind Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race just over a month ago.
#related#As the campaign moves into blue states where Republican presidential candidates are rarely competitive in a general election, what is perhaps most striking is just how much influence the few Republicans in the most liberal districts of the country can exert. The 2.7 million registered Republicans in New York State will be represented at the Republican convention by 95 delegates — about one delegate for every 28,000 Republicans in the state. The fewer than 1,100 Republican voters who turned out in Representative Jose Serrano’s Bronx congressional district got to choose three of them.
Like most New York Republicans voting on Tuesday, they overwhelmingly backed Trump.
— Alexis Levinson is the senior political reporter for National Review.