Coming off big wins in New York this week, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton look to move one step closer to the nomination next Tuesday as five states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island) will be choosing their candidate.
Hillary appears to now be in complete control of the race for the Democratic nomination, while on the Republican side, although Trump is on much better footing after taking the majority of the delegates in New York, speculation remains as to whether or not The Donald can reach the required number of delegates before the GOP convention in July.
Here is where each party stands through the New York primary.
The Wall Street Journal has a good state-by-state preview of Tuesday's primaries:
Pennsylvania is the next big prize on the presidential primary calendar, but for Republicans, the state’s delegate-selection process gives the statewide winner only 17 of the state’s 71 delegates. The rest are directly elected—and aren’t bound to support any of the Republican presidential contenders at the July convention in Cleveland, making them the ultimate free agents.
Under the decades-old system, well organized campaigns can line up delegates who have committed to backing their candidates and then alert supporters which delegates to vote for on primary day. But even those commitments aren’t binding, giving the 54 remaining delegates big sway at a contested convention.
This year, polls suggest GOP front-runner Donald Trump is primed to steamroll his rivals in Pennsylvania. But the state’s unique delegate-selection process opens the door for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to siphon some of the 54 unbound delegates.
The Democratic race in Pennsylvania is much more straightforward. Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are running for a share of the state’s 189 pledged delegates, to be allocated according to the candidates’ performance statewide and in each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts.The state was a rare bright spot for Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 primary fight with then-Sen. Barack Obama. She won 54% of the vote, carrying most parts of the state. The exception was Philadelphia and its suburbs, thanks to Mr. Obama’s dominance among the city’s black voters. He won 92% of African-American voters, according to exit polls.
In some ways, this year’s race could flip that script. Those same African-American voters have been the key to Mrs. Clinton’s success this year in her primary fight with Mr. Sanders. Polls show her with a solid lead heading into next week’s contest, thanks in some measure to her strength with nonwhite voters.
Mr. Kasich, eyeing a loss in New York’s primary, set his sights on Tuesday’s contest in Maryland as a way to gain momentum ahead of a possible contested GOP convention.
Mr. Kasich has won one state to date—his home state of Ohio—and is hundreds of delegates behind Messrs. Trump and Cruz. The Ohio governor’s only hope of winning his party’s nomination is through a contested convention in the summer. A strong finish in Maryland, which awards 38 delegates, could help convince delegates Mr. Kasich is a viable contender, as the primary race increasingly focuses on Messrs. Trump and Cruz.
"For Kasich, it’s a great opportunity," said Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who served as lieutenant governor of Maryland.
A RealClearPolitics average of recent polling in Maryland found Mr. Kasich in second place, with nearly 27% support, about 14 points behind Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump’s campaign schedule has largely stuck to New York and Pennsylvania, but the real-estate developer is scheduled to hold a rally in Berlin, Md., on Wednesday. Mr. Cruz ducked out of New York City on Monday to hold a rally in Towson, Md.
On the Democratic side, Mrs. Clinton holds an 18-point lead over Mr. Sanders in the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls. Mrs. Clinton addressed a rally in Baltimore this month, and former President Bill Clinton attended a rally in Montgomery County last week.
Another sign of support for Mrs. Clinton: Through the end of February, her campaign drew nearly $12 million from the region encompassing Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The area gave Mr. Sanders $371,389.
The state awards 95 delegates based on the Democratic primary results.
Connecticut has long been a destination for presidential contenders looking to raise cash along the state’s wealthy Gold Coast.
This year, however, it is emerging as an important state for winning votes and delegates.
Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, heads into Connecticut’s primaries next week with support from the state’s Democratic establishment, including Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. But Mr. Sanders appears to be within striking distance. A recent Emerson College poll showed her with a narrow lead of 49% to 43%, within the poll’s margin of error.
President Barack Obama beat Mrs. Clinton here in 2008. And at several universities in the state, support for Mr. Sanders tends to be high, said Gary Rose, chairman of the department of government and politics at Sacred Heart University.
On the GOP side, Mr. Kasich has secured the most endorsements from Connecticut Republicans, among them former gubernatorial candidates John McKinney and Mark Boughton. But Mr. Trump is polling at 50%, according to the Emerson College poll. Mr. Kasich came in second, with 26%, while Mr. Cruz had 17%.
The Republican candidates are vying for 28 delegates. Each of the state’s five congressional districts will award three delegates, based on results within the district. If the statewide winner clears 50% of the vote, that candidate will get an additional 13 delegates. If no one surpasses that mark, those 13 delegates will be awarded proportionately.
Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton are competing for 55 Democratic delegates, who will be awarded proportionately. The state will also award 16 superdelegates.
When it comes to Rhode Island’s presidential primary, political observers are wondering whether the Ocean State will sail along the same route as the neighboring Bay State.
In the Massachusetts primary in March, Republican Mr. Trump won a commanding victory, while Mrs. Clinton won only narrowly over Mr. Sanders.
"It will be interesting to see how things change between the Massachusetts election and Rhode Island," said James Morone, director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy at Brown University in Providence.
"I think that will be a very good gauge of how the candidates are rising and falling," he said.
The two southern New England states are cultural cousins and share roughly similar demographics, although economic anxiety is more palpable in Rhode Island, which has a lower percentage of college graduates and took a harder hit than other New England states in the recession.
A February poll by Brown University showed Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump leading in Rhode Island. Brown is expected to release results of new polling later this week.
"So the big question is, did that hold?" said Mr. Morone. Of the Democratic race, he said,
"My guess is that it’s a tossup."
While tiny, left-leaning Rhode Island historically hasn’t played an influential role in the presidential nominating process, the current fight for every delegate gives the state more relevance.
Rhode Island will send 33 Democratic delegates to the party’s national convention; 24 are up for grabs in the primary, and nine are superdelegates. The state will send 19 delegates to the Republican convention. The state awards delegates proportionally, as long as candidates secure a certain percentage of the vote.
Delaware seemed to lose its shot at a marquee spot on the presidential campaign when Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator from the state, last fall nixed a run for president in 2016.
With its predictable voting patterns and relatively small number of delegates, the blue state simply "doesn’t get a lot of love in most presidential campaigns," said Paul Brewer, director of the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication.
But a drawn-out presidential election campaign has made the political landscape more interesting in Delaware, which holds its primary Tuesday.
On the Republican side, where Mr. Trump is in a fierce battle for delegates, "a lot of scenarios could play out," giving Delaware and some other late-voting states a pivotal role, Mr. Brewer said. "Even a small state like Delaware could make a real difference," he said.
The state will send a total of 31 Democratic delegates—21 awarded proportionally based on primary results—to the convention. There are also 10 Democratic so-called superdelegates.
On the Republican side, the state will award 16 delegates to the winner of the primary.
There is little public polling to go on, but polls in the adjoining states of Maryland and Pennsylvania, showing Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton leading, are a good indicator of the possible outcome, Mr. Brewer said. The relatively high percentage of black voters in the state would likely also give a boost to Mrs. Clinton, who enjoys strong support among African-Americans.
Jobs and the economy are key concerns in Delaware, providing a possible opening for the populist message of Mrs. Clinton’s rival, Mr. Sanders.
"We see there are opportunities here," said Reed Millar, the Delaware state director for the Sanders campaign.
Mr. Biden, who is popular in Delaware, hasn’t endorsed a primary candidate and isn’t expected to, although his opinion would be "very influential," said Ted Kaufman, who served the rest of Mr. Biden’s term when he became vice president.
Visually, here is what is at stake on Tuesday