(CN) – Donald Trump swept all five Northeastern states holding primaries Tuesday, continuing to stockpile delegates as his rivals and the GOP establishment try in vain to stymie his ascent to the nomination.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, also had a good night, winning in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
However, Sen. Bernie Sanders refused to be made a political footnote Tuesday. He won in Rhode Island and lost Connecticut by only the narrowest of margins.
Democrats are competing for 384 delegates in Tuesday’s contests, while Republicans have 172 up for grabs. That means neither Trump or Clinton can wrap up their contests tonight.
It is still unclear, however, how much Tuesday night’s results will buoy the Sanders campaign.
In recent days, after being humbled in last week’s New York State Primary, the Vermont senator has alternated between vowing to fight on to the Democratic convention and striking a more conciliatory tone even going so far as to tell a television interviewer that he will support the party’s nominee, whoever it is.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Sanders admitted his campaign would be in a tough spot on Tuesday since the states in play don’t allow independents to participate in the primaries.
Later on Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters in Washington that he doesn’t believe Sanders has a realistic path to securing the party’s presidential nomination.
Responding to questions at his weekly news conference Reid stopped short of suggesting Sanders should drop out of the race, but when asked if he though Sanders has any chance of being the next president, he answered, “No, I do not.”
Sanders, Reid said, “has run a campaign that I think we’ve all recognized has been unique and powerful … Bernie is going to do what he feels is appropriate and I have every confidence that Bernie, his No. 1 issue is not him, it’s the country.”
For her part, Clinton has already begun looking past Sanders, ratcheting up her attacks on Trump, whom she’s already describing as a detached moneybags.
“If you want to be president of the United States you’ve got to get familiar with it,” she said this past weekend.
“You can’t just fly in on a big jet, go make a big speech and insult everybody you can think of,” Clinton said.
All five of the states holding primaries Tuesday Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island reported heavy voter turnouts.
In Connecticut, large numbers of voters turned out despite occasional thunderstorms and the entire state being under a severe weather watch into the evening.
Chris Haynes, assistant professor of political science at the University of New Haven, said early Tuesday that turnout will matter on the Democratic side where Sanders appeared to be gaining in the polls on former Secretary of State Clinton.
“Who gets their voters to the polls on a rainy day in Connecticut?” Haynes said. “Right now, those are Bernie voters.”
Haynes’ prediction did not hold. But in the end, it may not matter that much, since 55 of Connecticut’s 71 delegates are distributed proportionally, and Sanders’ showing means she’ll still receive a large number of them.
But Sanders’ showing was especially impressive considering Connecticut’s political establishment, including Gov. Daniel Malloy and its entire Democratic congressional delegation lined up behind Clinton long before election day.
On the Republican side, Haynes said despite headlines to the contrary, the Republican establishment appears headed toward a reconciliation with Donald Trump.
Trump is polling better than 50 percent and is likely to get all 25 Republican delegates up for grabs.
Trump made three stops in Connecticut over the past two weeks, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich visited the state twice.
Kasich does well among the Republican political establishment in the state.
There are 757,825 registered Democrats and 431,774 registered Republican voters in Connecticut, who were able to cast their ballot Tuesday.
The Nutmeg State’s more than 780,000 unaffiliated voters are not allowed to participate in party primaries.
In 2008, the last time both parties held presidential primaries in Connecticut, turnout was 51.1 percent on the Democratic side and 36.7 percent on the Republican side.
In neighboring Rhode Island, the state Board of Elections announced last week that it would be opening only 144 of its 419 polling locations in an effort to cut costs this despite the record turnouts seen consistently in other states throughout this very unusual primary season.
The Providence Journal newspaper on Tuesday reported that in North Providence, a largely white, middle class community, there was confusion over the poll closures, but officials said information on polling locations was published ahead of the primary.
As Courthouse News ventured out to several polling places in Providence it found them busy, but with a minimum of problems.
“Voting has been pretty smooth and a good amount of people have showed up,” said Jaiden, 21, a poll worker.
“Voting was pleasant. It was easy. Not difficult by any means. Although it would have been more difficult if my teacher had not told me where to go and given me a ride,” said Joseph, a 22-year-old voter in Providence.
For some voters, like Tatiana, 23, primary day was a little overwhelming.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
But another voter, Kaela, 26, said she went to vote at 7 a.m. and found the entire process went pretty quickly.
“It was not crowded … and the ballot was straightforward,” she reported.
“Voting was very fast,” agreed Franco, 78.
“In five minutes I was in and out,” he said.
Although Franco admitted he was a little confused about the delegates, he said he found a way to overcome his uncertainty.
“I chose all the foreign names because I thought it was representative of America,” he said.
Sol, 40, praised the poll workers, who, he said, made voting easy and convenient.
“The waiting time was minimal and the system to get me in is good,” he said. “They have different people who check IDs and hand out the ballot, so the line doesn’t bottleneck, and I submit my ballot in a machine.”
Kim, 36, of Cranston, which is about 20 minutes south of Providence also reported no problems in casting her ballot.
“I do wish it was better explained how to vote for delegates because a lot of people don’t understand and it screws with the system,” she said. “My polling place had 15 Trump signs and 2 Kasich signs up. Cranston is very Republican. I didn’t put my Bernie pin on until after I voted based of things I’ve heard. Weird stuff. Like voters being turned away for bogus reasons, especially in Wisconsin. I’m not concerned about it so much in Rhode Island, but I wanted to be safe. I do wish so many polling places hadn’t been closed. I went to 3 different websites to find my location. It’s upsetting and ridiculous that people have such a hard time finding out where to vote.”
In Pennsylvania, representatives from a polling place in South Philadelphia’s 1st Ward, at Annunciation BVM Church, said that voter turnout had been unusually high, with 375 ward residents showing up to cast their ballots by midmorning Tuesday.
This is in stark contrast to past elections, which Republican Ward Leader Domenic Chiavaroli said only brought 250 voters all day to the voting booths he supervised — one of three such polling locations in his ward.
Though a forecast that called for thunderstorms later in the day could have brought voters out early, Chiavaroli thought the “higher than normal” turnout was attributable to more than just the weather.
People are far more interested in the outcome of the 2016 presidential race than they have been in past elections, he said, and it’s showing in the primary “on both sides of the aisle.”
“I think this is very important to people right now and I’m glad, because it’s important to the country,” he said.
Philip Budwin, a volunteer stationed outside the polling place, said he has been working with the 1st Ward for six years, going door-to-door handing out Democratic “get out the vote” leaflets before elections, and being on hand on election day to make sure everything is “[done] by the book” and that voters are not influenced by outside groups.
His assessment was that things were going well in Philadelphia voting Tuesday, with few if any problems.
Far away from the voting booths, the primaries brought out a range of emotions in Philadelphia residents.
Some local residents used the occasion as a platform to air their frustration with the political system. This was the case of a bodybuilder Courthouse News encountered outside a busy downtown convenience store.
As he stood, drinking a protein shake, he shouted expletives about all three major candidates — first Trump, then Sanders and then Clinton.
Supporters from all sides also took to the streets of downtown Philadelphia to wave their chosen candidate’s flag.
Two vans painted with a “Black Men for Bernie” montage blasted music and leaned on their horns outside City Hall on Tuesday afternoon during prime voting time.
Hillary had made a surprise appearance at City Hall Monday evening, and the line of people who turned out to see her snaked around the building as early as two hours before she arrived.
Sanders was highly visible throughout the city leading up to the primary. He gave a speech at Drexel University Monday night, making one last get-out-the-vote effort despite being projected to come in behind Clinton when the votes were finally counted.
The day of the primary, he visited classic Philly haunts such as Reading Terminal Market, a huge open-air farmers’ market and food stand, where he was caught on a Channel 10 news camera joking with a vendor.
“OK, I got at least one vote in Philly,” Sanders said on the midmorning news report.
David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a group that monitors fraud and other problems at the polls, said Tuesday afternoon that he and his volunteers had not seen anything “extraordinary.”
“There were reports of some polls opening late this morning, but not a huge or significant number,” he said in an email to Courthouse News.
Thornburgh said there was some confusion about Voter ID, and sporadic reports of electioneering in the Northeast, 5th state Senate District, “but again, nothing extraordinary,” he said.
Trump responded to word of his sweep in Tuesday’s contests by calling on Cruz and Kasich to drop out “and unify the party.”
Trump is now the only Republican candidate left in the race who can reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the convention, but he could still fall short, a result that would lead to a contested party’s convention in Cleveland.
Cruz and Kasich, of course, would love to see that happen, as it would give them a renewed chance to grab the nomination for themselves.
This past weekend, the two GOP underdogs formed an alliance, hoping to capitalize on their respective strengths in certain contests – Indiana for Cruz, Oregon and New Mexico for Kasich and undercut Trump in the process.
But Trump has dismissed the effort, calling it “pathetic” and worse.
“If you collude in business, or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail,” Trump said has he wrapped up campaigning on Monday and prepared to head back to Trump Tower in Manhattan to await the verdict of the voters.
“In politics, because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise, in politics you’re allowed to collude,” he said.
Courthouse News reporters Christine Stuart in Hartford, Conn.; Marimer Matos in Providence, R.I.; and Gina Carrano in Philadelphia, Pa. contributed to this report.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at West Chester University, Monday, April 25, 2016, in West Chester, Pa. (Mark Pynes/PennLive.com via AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop, Monday, April 25, 2016, at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Supporters wave signs and cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives for a campaign rally at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse on the University of Pittsburgh campus, Monday, April 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks during a campaign rally at Huber’s Orchard and Winery, Monday, April 25, 2016 in Starlight, Ind. (Christopher Fryer/News and Tribune via AP)
Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaks during a town hall at Thomas farms Community Center Monday, April 25, 2016, in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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