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Trump sweeps five states, Clinton at least three

Trump was assured of collecting more than 50 delegates in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut.

It will still be a struggle for him to seal his victory in the remaining primaries. (Photo: AP).
English 26/04/2016 21:21 AP Washington Actualizada 21:33
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Donald Trump scored a five-state East Coast sweep Tuesday to embolden his hopes of clinching the Republican presidential nomination without a catfight at the convention. Democrat Hillary Clinton, on the cusp of closing down Bernie Sanders' remaining presidential hopes, advanced toward that goal with wins in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Trump was assured of collecting more than 50 delegates in the three races called early, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut, and was on track to raise that haul substantially before the night was out after his wins in Rhode Island and Delaware.

It will still be a struggle for him to seal his victory in the remaining primaries and avoid a convention fight. But his odds of accomplishing that improved with his convincing performance as the presidential contest switches gears to Indiana next week.

Clinton is in a stronger position, now 88 percent of the way to the nomination. Sanders, who denied his rival a clean sweep Tuesday with his win in Rhode Island, is down to needing a miracle.

Everyone has been readying for the prospect of a contested convention, the likes of which have not been seen in decades. A leading scenario: Trump comes into the convention with a delegate lead, but short of the needed majority, forcing more than one ballot. Delegates who had been divvied up according to the results of primaries and caucuses start becoming free to side with another candidate. That's when the claws come out.

As he has for so many months, Sanders attracts the large crowds, the passion, the vigor and commitment of youthful supporters - pretty much everything a candidate dreams of except the most important thing: a collection of delegates who can take him over the top. He has an almost impossible - he now concedes "narrow" - path to victory against a front-runner who's had far more of a fight on her hands than anyone who isn't named Sanders saw coming.

Clinton now has at least 2,097 delegates to Sanders' 1,271, with 2,383 needed to win.

Those totals include both pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses and superdelegates, the party insiders who can back the candidate of their choice regardless of how their state votes.

She won at least 150 delegates Tuesday, and Sanders 79, with many still to be allocated.

Trump went into Tuesday 62 percent of the way there. Tuesday night, he beefed up his delegate numbers at least to 927, with 1,237 the magic number to clinch, so he needs as many as 310 in remaining contests. He, Cruz and Kasich competed for 172 delegates Tuesday, though Pennsylvania's oddball system means the allocation of only 118 could be calculated primary night.

In short, Trump has a distinct path to winning the nomination before July but little room for error.

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