Trump claims Massachusetts win; Sanders, Clinton battle on
BOSTON >> Republican Donald Trump cruised to an easy victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the nod from Bay State Democrats in the presidential primary contests.
While Clinton had much of the party establishment behind her, Sanders banked on strong support from the state's college-age voters to help keep his candidacy afloat.
Republican voters gave Trump the win over fellow Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson, who were hoping for strong second place finishes.
For Republicans, Massachusetts has 42 delegates awarded on a proportional basis. That means multiple candidates will likely receive delegates. All GOP delegates are awarded based on the primary tally.
For Democrats the process is a bit trickier.
Massachusetts has 116 Democratic delegates. Of those, 25 are superdelegates free to back whichever candidate they want. At least 17 already have pledged support to Clinton and one is backing Sanders, according to an Associated Press survey. The remaining 91 delegates are awarded on a proportional basis — rather than winner-take-all.
Polls closed at 8 p.m.
The day wasn't without its moments of drama.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he had to remind the Clinton campaign about state election laws after former President Bill Clinton greeted voters at a polling location in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston around 9:35 a.m.
Clinton spoke with voters outside the polling location before heading inside with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and again greeted voters.
State law says no one may solicit a person's vote within 150 feet of a polling location.
Galvin said Bill Clinton also created a traffic jam outside a New Bedford polling location later in the day when he addressed voters on the street — but voters still were able to cast ballots.
Throughout the day voters seemed eager to have their voices heard.
Independent voter Tyler Murphy, a 26-year-old Boston resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, said he voted for Trump, calling the New York businessman the "wakeup call" the country needs.
"I think he is undeniably wrong on a lot of things," Murphy said. "Ultimately, if we have to elect someone who is borderline crazy to get people to understand what's going on, then that's what we have to do."
Vivien Gattie, 72, a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections, said she reluctantly picked Clinton "because I think she can win."
"I can't get excited for Bernie Sanders," she said after voting at Boston City Hall.
At 3 p.m., 81,372 voters had cast ballots in the city.
Galvin said that's well ahead of the previous record high in 2008, when 66,539 Boston voters had cast ballots by 3 p.m. during that year's presidential primary.
The 2008 contest set a record high for presidential primaries with about 1.8 million total ballots cast statewide.
By 7 p.m. the number of votes cast in Boston topped 120,000.
Galvin, a Democrat, said one hint that turnout would be high is that 20,000 Massachusetts voters have left the Democratic party since Jan. 1. Most are now considered unenrolled, but about 3,500 switched to the Republican Party. Galvin attributes the switch to the "Trump phenomenon."
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker cast his ballot in his hometown of Swampscott, but he's not saying who earned his vote.
He did, however, say who he did not vote for — Trump or Cruz.
Dave Pirie, a 69-year-old retiree who cast his ballot early Tuesday afternoon in the Boston suburb of Framingham, said his decision to support Bernie Sanders came down to a single word — trust.
"I don't trust Hillary, I don't trust her at all," said Pirie.
Associated Press writers Mark Pratt, Philip Marcelo and Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.
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