Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump notched a primary victory in Rhode Island on Tuesday, continuing his winning streak in the Northeast.
Trump was widely favored to win the small New England state. The latest polling had Trump leading Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) by more than 37 points the day before the election, according to HuffPost Pollster.
Although just 19 delegates were at stake in Tuesday’s Republican contest in the Ocean State, the win brings Trump ever closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination ahead of July’s party convention -- and adds to his momentum going into May’s more consequential primaries.
Trump was further bolstered by big wins in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the four other states to hold primaries Tuesday.
Trump may have benefited from Rhode Island’s relatively high concentration of white voters and blue-collar households. The GOP front-runner tends to have the highest rates of support among Republican primary voters with a high school degree or less.
Rhode Island is a heavily Democratic state, but it has a somewhat open primary system. Voters who register as “unaffiliated” are free to vote in either party’s primary.
Trump held a rally Monday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island, that demonstrated his strength in the state. He delivered a rollicking speech to a packed hall of supporters, who periodically interrupted him with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
In remarks replete with name-calling that were colorful even by Trump standards, the real estate mogul garnished his usual list of policy items and talking points with some nods to local concerns.
“First of all, let’s start by saying: Leave Tom Brady alone!” Trump said, drawing loud cheers. “He’s a great guy. It’s enough."
Last May, the NFL imposed a four-game suspension on Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, for allegedly deflating footballs below mandated pressure levels. A federal appeals court upheld Brady's suspension on Monday, but New England fans, who are fiercely loyal to him, continue to cry foul.
Trump will next face his rivals in delegate-rich Indiana’s winner-take-all primary on May 3. The latest polling shows Trump leading Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the state, but only by single-digit margins.
The Cruz and Kasich campaigns announced on Sunday that Kasich will not campaign in Indiana so as to maximize Cruz’s chances of beating Trump there. The Cruz campaign in turn will not contest Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico, where voters head to the polls on May 17 and June 7, respectively.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.