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Primary Day updates: Trump, Clinton declared winners; voter turnout around WNY is strong

The most important presidential primaries in New York State in decades resulted in momentous wins for the major parties' front-runners.

Donald Trump wrested back control of the Republican presidential race with a commanding victory in the New York primary, while Hillary Clinton dealt a severe blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders as she won her adopted home state with powerful support from women and blacks.

Trump drew support from majorities of nearly every demographic group across the state, according to exit polls by Edison Research.

In the Democratic race, Clinton snapped Sanders' recent winning streak and took an important step toward clinching the nomination.

Seconds after the polls closed, multiple outlets declared Donald Trump the winner on the Republican side.

It took about 40 minutes for Hillary Clinton to be declared the Democratic winner.

Election officials reported a high turnout of voters, in large part because it was the first time that both major political parties simultaneously had competitive races in New York.

Follow updates from our staff below and check back with BuffaloNews.com for the latest.

11:10 p.m. Voter turnout, which appeared to be unusually high throughout the day, appears on par with 2008.

Here's Sandy Tan's story about voter turnout.

 


 

10:40 p.m. Local results coming in; Bernie Sanders doing well in Western New York.


 

10:39 p.m. Clinton closes her speech.

 


 

 

10:22 p.m. Clinton's victory speech includes an appeal to those who support her rival. 

 


 

 

10:16 p.m. Some perspective from Jerry Zremski in New York City. 

 


 

9:57 p.m. FiveThirtyEight.com projections show Trump picking up at least 77 delegates in the New York Primary. 

 


 

9:49 p.m. Strong numbers for Clinton, ones that prompted the race to be called.

 


 

9:45 p.m. Trump has left the Tower.


 

9:41 p.m. Hillary tweets, signed with an 'H.' 

 


 

9:40 p.m. Hillary Clinton declared winner of New York's Democratic Primary, by several outlets.

 


 

9:36 p.m. Trump speaks to supporters in New York City, with Buffalo's Carl Paladino visible on every network, to the right of the candidate.

 


 

9:30 p.m. Clinton's lead exceeds 60 percent with 17 percent reporting statewide. 

 


 

9:28 p.m. -- Clinton with major leads in New York City. 

 


 

9:22 p.m. -- Clinton with the early lead. Very early. 

 


 

9:11 p.m. -- The scene from Hillary Clinton's headquarters in New York City. 

 


 

9:08 p.m. Trump tweets. 

 


 

9:02 p.m. -- Party at Trump Tower. 

 


 

9 p.m. -- Polls close. Multiple outlets immediately call the New York State Republican Primary for Donald Trump.


 

8:45 p.m. -- Polls close in 15 minutes. We'll have live results as soon as the state releases them.

 


 

8:35 p.m. -- The News ran into a familiar face in Trump Tower:


 

8:30 p.m. -- Polls close in 30 minutes. 

Didn't recognize all of those names on your ballot today?

Here's the rundown on New York's "wacky" delegate rules from our Jerry Zremski.

 


 

7:58 p.m. -- Sanders campaigns in Pennsylvania: Bernie Sanders spent New York's Primary Day politicking in Pennsylvania, where he told a crowd of about 7,000 at Penn State that Hillary Clinton is "getting nervous."

Sanders took the stage at Penn State's Recreation Building -- known commonly as Rec Hall -- and touched on many of his trademark issues:

  • On banks said to be too big to fail: "Today we've got to break them up."
  • On the "rigged economy:" It is "not an economy that is moral, sustainable or American."
  • On marijuana: He told the crowd that it needs to be taken off federal controlled substance list.
  • On the federal minimum wage: Sanders called for a $15 minimum wage. "It's not a radical idea to suggest that if you work 40 hours a week in this country should not live in poverty."
  • "Green" jobs: He said there could be millions of "green" jobs if the fossil-fuel industry was told that "short-term profits are not more important than the future of our planet."

On his status as a candidate going against the status quo, Sanders cited gay marriage as a prime example of how people challenged the status quo for the better, and urged more rejection of the status quo.

Sanders wrapped up at 8:15 p.m. encouraging the "highest voter turnout in Pennsylvania history" for next week's primary, and exited to David Bowie's "Starman."

-- Jay Tokasz

 


 

Voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary elections was like no other, in large part because it was the first time that both major parties simultaneously had competitive races in New York.

“We haven’t had a lull yet,” said Elizabeth Kerling, an election inspector at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, always one of the busiest polling places in the City of Buffalo.

Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner Leonard R. Lenihan predicted that the overall voter turnout would be 35 to 40 percent. “It’s one of the biggest turnouts we’ve seen,” he said.

Previous presidential primaries in New York suffered from low turnout because the Democratic and Republican nominations already had been decided by the time New Yorkers voted. This year was clearly an exception.

Voter turnout was particularly high in predominantly white neighborhoods in Buffalo, Lenihan said, with more than half of eligible voters casting their ballots.

Lenihan pointed out that when he visited the Unitarian Universalist Church polling place – which represents five or six election districts –it had already recorded voter turnout of 15 percent by 9:30 a.m. “That’s huge,” he said.

[Who was the woman in that photo? The story behind the heart-shaped protest at Trump rally]

Unlike many other upstate counties that open their polls at noon, Erie County’s polling places opened at 6 a.m. And at busy sites, people were voting steadily since that first hour.

Lenihan said that at most of the polling places that he visited throughout the day, voter turnout seemed strong. One smaller Cheektowaga polling place reported turnout of 20 percent by midmorning, Lenihan said, and by late morning, a West Seneca polling place reported voter turnout of roughly 30 percent.

Nearly halfway through the day, a particularly busy Lancaster polling station that represented six districts had already registered turnout in the high teens. That was telling, Lenihan said, because it was a working-class area that typically gets an influx of voters after work.

Not all polling places saw big numbers. East Side polling locations, for instance, had lower turnout, he said. But even many of those sites were showing turnout of 30 percent or more.

Overall, according to Lenihan, turnout was impressive. “And why not?” he said. “This is relevant because both nominations are in play. The residents here have gone to rallies for Hillary, for Bernie, for Donald Trump.”

Between the attention given to the candidates in mainstream and social media, and the active campaigning and personal appearances by Trump, Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Buffalo over the last couple of weeks, Democrats and Republicans had more motivation than usual to fill out a ballot Tuesday, political observers said. The mild, sunny weather Tuesday was also a help.

Michael R. Caputo, a local Republican strategist working on Trump’s campaign, said many voters who went to the polls Tuesday probably left frustrated after discovering they couldn’t cast a ballot for their desired candidate. He said those supporting Trump and Sanders were more likely to have been unaware of the state’s closed primary system, which requires voters to be registered with a specific party.

Election inspector Laurie Boyack, who has staffed the Unitarian Universalist Church location for seven years, said she had several conversations with would-be voters who thought they were eligible to vote – and signed affidavits to that effect – but probably were not because they weren’t registered with a party.

“They swear on their mother’s grave that they’ve always been a Democrat,” Boyack said.

A number of first-time primary voters said they’d never bothered to vote in a primary before because they weren’t as in touch with the candidates or the issues as they are now.

Buffalo resident Nicholas Palermo, 24, said that as a registered Republican, he doesn’t take much interest in local politics and long believed his vote in a New York State primary wouldn’t matter. Describing himself as an “extremely blue-collar” factory and construction worker, Palermo said he was pleased to vote for Trump and support a candidate rejected by the political establishment.

City residents Veronica Dorman, 29, and her husband Michael, 31, said they had also bypassed political primaries until this year’s. On Tuesday, these two Democrats pushed a stroller with their 4-month-old daughter to the Unitarian Universalist Church and voted for Sanders. Michael Dorman had attended the Sanders rally at the University at Buffalo.

As two people who don’t follow the news on TV and are rarely aware of local candidates, they said, they were much more cognizant of this year’s primary and the flurry of conversations on social media.

“It’s kind of in your face more,” Veronica Dorman said. “You think about it more.”

News Staff Reporters Sandy Tan, Aaron Besecker and Barbara O'Brien contributed to this report.

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Voice of the Voters:

 

Karen Roberts signs in to vote at Cheektowaga Senior Center. Aiding her are inspectors Irene Zamrok and Joe Cefaratti. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Karen Roberts signs in to vote at Cheektowaga Senior Center. Aiding her are inspectors Irene Zamrok and Joe Cefaratti. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

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