April 19, 2016 at 10:03 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Clinton, Trump win big in New York primary
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won big in the New York primary.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won big in the New York primary. (Photo of Clinton by 1photo, photo of Trump by Andy Katz; courtesy Bigstock)

After a series of defeats for both front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Tuesday won big in the New York presidential primary for their respective parties.

Media outlets declared Trump the winner over his rivals Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich shortly after polls closed in the state at 9 p.m. Clinton was declared the winner over her competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) less than one hour later.

With 99 percent of precints reporting on the Democratic side, Clinton, who represented New York as a U.S. senator, won 57.9 percent of the vote compared to the 42.1 percent won by Sanders even though the Vermont Independent was born in Brooklyn. With the same amount of precincts reporting on the Republican side, Trump, who claims New York as his home state, won 60.5 percent of the vote compared to the 25.1 percent won by Kasich and the 14.5 percent won by Cruz.

The New York primary was considered crucial for both front-runners after a series of setbacks and should inject momentum into their campaigns as the primary season continues. On the Democratic side, a mother lode of 247 delegates were on the table, while New York yielded 95 delegates for Republican candidates.

Speaking to supporters after polls closed, Clinton seemed to make a direct appeal to Sanders’ supporters as she said: “There is much more that unites us than divides us.”

“We started this race not far from here on Roosevelt Island pledging to build on the progressive tradition that’s done so much for America from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama,” Clinton said. “And tonight, a little less than a year later, the race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight.”

In his victory speech in Manhattan, Trump credited his win with frustration felt by many Americans and looked ahead to states in the upcoming primaries.

“We expect we’re going to have an amazing number of weeks because these are places and they’re in big trouble, they’re in big trouble,” Trump said. “When you look at Pennsylvania, when you look at Indiana, when you look at Maryland and Rhode Island and so many places, we have problems everywhere you look. We are going to solve those problems, and one of the big problems is the economy and jobs, and that is my wheelhouse.”

Clinton’s win makes up for a string of losses in seven other Democratic contests where Sanders was the victor. With a nearly 16-point loss in New York, Sanders seems even more unlikely to make up the delegates he needs to secure the Democratic nomination.

Prior to his massive win in New York, Trump faced setbacks because of losses in Colorado and Wyoming. Republicans allied with other campaigns were named as his delegates in Michigan, Iowa and South Carolina, making it unlikely they would continue to support him during the Republican National Convention if he doesn’t win on the first ballot.

Richard Socarides, a gay New York City-based Democratic activist and Clinton supporter, attributed what he called a “big win for Hillary in the Big Apple” in part to her support among the LGBT people.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for her within New York’s LGBT community and it looks like a lot of us came out to support her,” Socarides said. “She was at the LGBT Center near Stonewall yesterday and the crowd was ecstatic. She is clearly connecting with LGBT Americans and they are responding.”

Roberta Kaplan, the New York-based lesbian attorney who successfully litigated against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court, said Clinton’s victory in New York makes sense.

“I’m thrilled, but not surprised,” Kaplan said. “While we New Yorkers can be a tough bunch, we are fiercely loyal and there is no one who has worked harder for New Yorkers or who reflects our New York values more than Hillary Clinton.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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