Trump claims Massachusetts win; Clinton edges Sanders
BOSTON >> Republican Donald Trump cruised to a commanding victory in Massachusetts Tuesday as Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow win over Bernie Sanders among Bay State Democrats in the presidential primary contests.
Clinton's win also was a victory for the state's Democratic Party establishment, most of whom backed her. Sanders had banked on strong support from the state's college-age voters to help keep his candidacy afloat, but fell just short.
Republican voters gave Trump the win over fellow Republican candidates including Marco Rubio and John Kasich who were vying for a strong second place finish. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson also were on the ballot.
With 91 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial totals had Trump with nearly 49 percent of votes compared to 18 percent for Kasich, who was just edging Rubio, also with about 18 percent.
On the Democratic side, unofficial counts had Clinton with more than 50 percent of votes compared to more than 48 percent for Sanders with 91 percent of precincts reporting.
For Republicans, Massachusetts has 42 delegates awarded on a proportional basis. That means multiple candidates likely will receive delegates. All GOP delegates are awarded based on the primary tally.
For Democrats the process is a bit trickier.
Massachusetts has 116 Democratic delegates. Of those, 25 are superdelegates free to back whichever candidate they want. At least 17 already have pledged support to Clinton and one is backing Sanders, according to an Associated Press survey. The remaining 91 delegates are awarded on a proportional basis.
Trump's landslide victory proved awkward for Republican leaders.
Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Kirsten Hughes released a statement Tuesday congratulating "all of our Republican candidates on successful and energetic campaigns" without mentioning Trump.
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had criticized Trump, saying he doesn't have the temperament to be president. Baker cast his ballot in his hometown of Swampscott but would only say he didn't vote for Trump or Cruz.
The voice of independent voters, who can vote in either party primary, echoed loudly.
Preliminary results of the exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks show nearly half of all independents who pulled Republican ballots broke for Trump. While Clinton led among those who consider themselves Democrats, independent voters who participated in the Democratic primary chose Sanders by about a 2-1 margin.
The day wasn't without its drama.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he had to remind the Clinton campaign about state election laws after former President Bill Clinton greeted voters at a polling location in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston around 9:35 a.m.
Clinton spoke with voters outside the polling location before heading inside with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and again greeted voters.
State law says no one may solicit a person's vote within 150 feet of a polling location.
Galvin said Bill Clinton also created a traffic jam outside a New Bedford polling location later in the day when he addressed voters on the street — but voters still were able to cast ballots.
Independent voter Tyler Murphy, a 26-year-old Boston resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, said he voted for Trump, calling the New York businessman the "wakeup call" the country needs.
"I think he is undeniably wrong on a lot of things," Murphy said. "Ultimately, if we have to elect someone who is borderline crazy to get people to understand what's going on, then that's what we have to do."
Vivien Gattie, 72, a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections, said after voting at Boston City Hall that she reluctantly picked Clinton "because I think she can win."
At 3 p.m., 81,372 voters had cast ballots in the city.
Galvin said that was well ahead of the previous record high in 2008, when 66,539 Boston voters had cast ballots by 3 p.m. during that year's presidential primary.
By 7 p.m. the number of votes cast in Boston topped 120,000.
Associated Press writers Mark Pratt, Philip Marcelo and Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.
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