WILKES-BARRE — Hillary Clinton cruised to victory in Pennsylvania Tuesday night, and Luzerne County was a big help to the former Secretary of State.
On the Republican side, it was all Donald Trump, as the GOP front-runner won a decisive victory in Pennsylvania and Luzerne County.
According to unofficial results, with 180 of 180 precincts counted, Clinton received 56.4 percent of the vote statewide and 50.6 percent in Luzerne County, finishing well ahead of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, who garnered 42.7 percent statewide and 45.66 in the county.
According to unofficial results, Trump received 58 percent of the vote statewide to 21 percent for Ted Cruz and 18 percent for John Kasich. In Luzerne County, Trump earned a whopping 77.1 percent, Cruz 12.4 percent and Kasich 8.8 percent.
Voter turnout in Luzerne County was 41 percent, according to the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. There were 41,751 Democratic votes cast and 37,368 Republican votes.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, who endorsed Clinton early on in the race, said Clinton won a decisive and substantial victory in Pennsylvania that will propel her to the Democratic nomination and the presidency.
“She campaigned hard throughout the Commonwealth and I was pleased to be able to join her, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton on multiple occasions during the last week,” Casey said in an emailed statement. “Beginning in Iowa, the primary process has energized our party and made clear what’s at stake in this election.”
Casey said that as president, Clinton will advance an agenda that raises incomes for middle class families, invests in early education for our children and deals with threats like ISIS.
“We don’t know who the Republicans will nominate, but the candidates running in the Republican primary are running on an extreme agenda that will take our nation backwards,” Casey said.
According to an Associated Press story, Trump said that the Republican nomination contest is “over” as he turned his focus to his Democratic rival, Clinton.
“I call her crooked Hillary,” he said in a speech Tuesday in New York following his five-state sweep. He said of the Republican nomination contest: “It’s over. As far as I’m concerned it’s over.”
He vowed to do more for women than Clinton will if elected president and he reiterated his criticism of her handling of the security situation at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
He repeatedly called on Clinton’s Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, to run as an independent, saying “I think he’d do great.”
Trump piled up a lot of delegates Tuesday night, collecting at least 105 of the 118 delegates at stake in five states.
His five-state sweep raises the stakes for the anti-Trump effort in Indiana next week. If Trump can win the Indiana primary, he will stay on a narrow path to clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7.
John Kasich will win at least five delegates in Tuesday’s contests — both in Rhode Island. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, was contending for one or two delegates, also in Rhode Island.
Eight delegates are left to be awarded.
The AP delegate count shows Trump with 950; Ted Cruz, 559; John Kasich, 153. To get the nomination heading into the convention, 1,237 delegates are needed.
Clinton fired up
The AP story said Clinton is looking to the Democratic convention, telling a crowd in the host city of Philadelphia that she’ll be back.
Clinton told more than 1,300 people gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center that said she would be back with the most votes, pledging delegates and promising that “we will unify our party to win this election and build an America where we all rise together.”
Clinton focused criticism on the Republican candidates, rather than primary opponent Bernie Sanders. She made a pitch to voters outside the Democratic Party, suggesting some may not be happy with the Republican options.
“If you are a Democrat, an independent or a thoughtful Republican, you know that their approach is not going to build an America where we increase opportunity or decrease inequality,” Clinton said.
AP reported that Clinton was assured of winning more delegates than Bernie Sanders for the night after wins in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, padding her overall big lead.
She’s now less than 300 delegates away from clinching the Democratic nomination, with the outcome of Connecticut still to come.
Pennsylvania and Maryland were the two biggest delegate prizes on Tuesday.
In those states plus Delaware, Clinton will win at least 142 delegates. Sanders will take at least 66. Many remain to be allocated pending final vote tallies.
That means to date, Clinton now has 1,578 delegates based on primaries and caucuses, compared to 1,232 for Sanders.
When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has 2,097 compared to Sanders’ 1,271.
She’s now 88 percent of the way to reaching the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch.
Clinton now needs to win just 21 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates to hit 2,383.
Sanders won the Rhode Island primary.
Barletta at Trump celebration
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said he was among the invited guests at Donald Trump’s post-primary celebration Tuesday night at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Barletta, R-Hazleton, said Trump invited him to the event when the two met Monday night at Trump’s rally at the Mohegan Sun Arena, where more than 11,000 people turned out to support the billionaire GOP front-runner.
“It’s an honor that the Trumps have invited me to share in tonight’s celebration in New York,” Barletta said. “Mr. Trump told me last night that he was very impressed, not only with the turnout of supporters, but for the enthusiasm and love he felt from the crowd.”
While in New York, Barletta said he is tentatively scheduled to appear on Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network and on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.
Barletta said he is certain Trump will win in Pennsylvania today, but he said he still has concerns about how the Republican Party is treating Trump, who Barletta called “clearly the most popular candidate.”
Barletta said that even if Trump wins Pennsylvania, he will be guaranteed only 17 delegate votes on the first ballot at the convention. The other 54 Republican delegates are not committed to any candidate, Barletta said.
“The process shows us little our votes count when selecting the party nominee,” Barletta said.
Barletta, who endorsed Trump early on in the campaign, said the GOP is still intent on trying to keep the nomination from Trump. Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have struck a deal to work together in an attempt to keep Trump from securing the required 1,237 delegate votes that would secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention, set for July 18-21 in Cleveland.
According to an Associated Press story, Kasich says he won’t compete in Indiana, where Cruz is boasting he’s “all-in,” while the Texas senator said he will cede contests in Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich.
“It’s unprecedented that two candidates would join together to try to take out the clear front-runner,” Barletta said. “And the silence of GOP leaders in Washington to try to stop that is very telling.”
Barletta said that if the votes and delegates of Cruz and Kasich were added together, they wouldn’t match Trump’s totals.
“I think it’s wrong,” Barletta said. “Trump is clearly who the people want.”
Barletta said if the effort to deny Trump the nomination is successful, it will kill the Republican Party.
“And it will hand the election to Hillary Clinton,” he said. “The Republican Party is saying it will pick who (it likes), not who the people want.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
PA Primary - Democrat
- Clinton - 56.4%
- Sanders - 42.7%
PA Primary - Republican
- Trump - 58%
- Cruz - 21%
- Kasich - 18%