After several false-start whoops — and one that quickly turned into boos — they finally got it right when CNN announced it was projecting Hillary Clinton to win the New York primary.
Supporters packed in a ballroom at a midtown Manhattan hotel erupted into chants of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary”, with a mixture of relief, joy and anticipation.
That false whoop that morphed into boos was for an earlier announcement by CNN when the audience thought it was going to be about Clinton, but it turned out to be about Donald Trump.
Both frontrunners won their respective primaries on Tuesday in their home state — adoptive for Clinton — by massive margins that they hope will change the race on both sides here on.
A beaming Clinton told cheering supporters that the Democratic race had entered “the home stretch” and that “victory was in sight”.
Clinton needed a big victory to end Sanders’s recent streak of wins — seven out of eight contests—and secure a firm grip on the nomination, ending a race that had gone on too long for her.
Clinton got 57.9% of the votes, posting a double-digit lead over Sanders who ended with 42.1%. In the new count of delegates, She leads Sanders 1,930 to 1,189; their threshold is 2,382.
Looking past the primary to the general election, Clinton tried to reach out to supporters of Sanders, saying there is more that unites them with her than what separates them.
Trump struck a reconciliatory tone in his victory speech too — even looked presidential — addressing Ted Cruz as “Senator Cruz” and not “Lyin’ Ted” as he has tended to in the past.
And he called John Kasich, the third Republican in the race who is the governor of Ohio state, as “Governor Kasich”, which was also unusual given Trump’s past disregard for honorifics.
New York was generous with its blessing for its New Yorkers. The Republican frontrunner picked up 89 of the 95 delegates at stake, taking his countrywide aggregate to 845.
He is now 392 delegates short of the threshold of 1,237 that will give him the nomination, or anyone else who reaches it — no one else in the race has a better chance than Trump.
Also significant for Trump was his vote share. He got 60.5% of the votes, which was the first time he had crossed the 50% mark, proving he was not winning in a fractured race.
And he ended Cruz’s recent string of wins such as in Colorado and Wyoming that had made Trump look inept at handling some of the complexities of the nominating contests.
“We don’t have much of a race anymore,” Trump told supporters at a victory party at Trump Tower. “We’re going to go into the convention I think as the winner.”
He thinks, he is not sure. Experts believe Trump is unlikely to make it before the convention, and that the party is most likely to pick its nominee through votes at the convention.