New York Businessman Donald Trump easily won Connecticut’s Republican presidential primary, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton squeaked out a victory over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, The Associated Press called the Republican primary for Trump, but they waited until 10:31 p.m. to call it for Clinton.
Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, made several stops in Connecticut this past weekend in an attempt to solidify her support. She made stops in Hartford and New Haven and her campaign ran television ads that featured Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the school principal killed along with 20 children and five other educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Clinton also had the support of Connecticut’s political establishment, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and its congressional delegation.
“Bernie is a good friend and he ran a strong race, and I know he’ll do what it takes to ensure Democrats keep the White House,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said Tuesday. “Donald Trump’s dangerous and hateful agenda cannot be taken lightly, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure she wins in November.”
Sanders refuses to throw in the towel, even though he is behind in the delegate count.
Sanders’ last-minute visit on Sunday to New Haven drew an estimated 14,000 people. He held a smaller 1,800-person event in Hartford on Monday. In the days leading up to the primary, voter registration among young people, a demographic that favors Sanders, exploded.
Even though Clinton won, Sanders will win some of the 55 delegates up for grabs Tuesday, as 55 of the 71 delegates are awarded proportionally.
“I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victories tonight, and I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come,” Sanders said in a statement.
Unlike Clinton, Trump may not have gotten the support of Connecticut’s Republican political establishment, but that didn’t matter to his supporters. Trump hosted three rallies in Hartford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, attracting thousands of supporters.
Chris Haynes, assistant professor of political science at the University of New Haven, said early Tuesday that the Republican National Committee seems headed toward a reconciliation with Trump.
Connecticut’s 25 Republican delegates will be distributed proportionally. There are also three super delegates who will get to decide who to support at the convention in Cleveland.
The Connecticut Democratic Party issued a statement on Trump’s victory.
“It is clear that Donald Trump’s hateful, divisive message is now squarely in the mainstream of the state GOP,” Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus issued a statement Tuesday after Clinton won four of the five northeastern states, saying her agenda is “far removed from the direction the American people want.” He said Clinton would offer another four years of the “status quo and failed Obama policies.”
Trump won the primaries in all five states — Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut — which held their contests Tuesday. Clinton won four of the five, losing to Sanders in Rhode Island — the only state with an open primary to vote Tuesday.
“I am proud that we were able to win a resounding victory tonight in Rhode Island, the one state with an open primary where independents had a say in the outcome,” Sanders said in a statement. “Democrats should recognize that the ticket with the best chance of winning this November must attract support from independents as well as Democrats. I am proud of my campaign’s record in that regard.”
In 2008, the last time both parties held presidential primaries, turnout was 51.1 percent on the Democratic side and 36.7 percent on the Republican side.
Not all the towns had reported their data, but of the 82 towns that had reported their information, voter turnout on the Republican side was around 50 percent and turnout on the Democratic side was around 46 percent.