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A Big Step Closer to Nominations

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored more big victories on Tuesday.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton were the big winners on Tuesday when five eastern states held their primaries. Their victories increase their chances of squaring off against one another in the race for the presidency in November.

Trump won all five states that held Republican primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. With the victories, he increased his lead over Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

In the Democratic race, Clinton won four of the five states. Her opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, scored a victory in Rhode Island. Still, political experts say the chances of Sanders winning the nomination for president are extremely slim. In her victory speech Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Clinton already began to look ahead to the general election.

“We will unify our party to win this election and build an America where we can all rise together, an America where we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down,” Clinton said.
 
The Delegate Count

While candidates hope to win the most votes, what they're really after are delegates. Those are members of a political party who will officially select the nominee for president at the conventions this summer. The number of delegates each state awards is based on how many votes a candidate gets in the state’s election.  
      
A candidate needs to win the majority (more than half) of a party’s delegates to earn the nomination. For the Republicans, at least 1,237 delegates are needed. Trump picked up 105 delegates on Tuesday, bringing his total to 954. Cruz has a total of 562 delegates, followed by Kasich with 153.

For a Democratic candidate to win the nomination, he or she would need at least 2,383 delegates. Clinton now has 1,632 delegates after winning 196 on Tuesday. Sanders’s total is 1,299.

Teaming Up Against Trump

Trump’s victories on Tuesday bring him a big step closer toward earning the majority of Republican delegates. But Cruz and Kasich hope to keep him from doing so. On Sunday, they announced that they would be joining forces to try to stop Trump.

Their plan is to divide their efforts in upcoming contests. Kasich will no longer campaign in Indiana, which votes next Tuesday, hoping to clear the way for Cruz to win the primary there. Meanwhile, Cruz won’t campaign in Oregon, which will hold its primary on May 17, and New Mexico, which will have its primary on June 7. The idea is to give Kasich a better shot at beating Trump in those states.

Kasich and Cruz are hoping for a contested convention in July. That would happen if no candidate wins the majority of their party’s delegates. At a contested convention, delegates can change their votes. Kasich and Cruz believe that would give them their best shot at beating Trump for the nomination.