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Candidates Turn To NY As, In A Rarity, State's Primaries Matter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The presidential race is descending on New York as front-runners Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton look to heal after both took one on the chin in Wisconsin.

The voting on April 19 will be the first time the state has played a meaningful role in the nominating process in decades. New York is a coveted prize, offering the most delegates of any contest left on the primary calendar until California's primary June 7.


Clinton and Trump, who have long eyed New York as a bulwark against their opposition, now both need the state to provide a bounce-back victory after some disheartening defeats.

Trump's campaign hit a bump Tuesday following a crushing loss to rival Ted Cruz, deepening questions about the billionaire businessman's presidential qualifications and pushing the GOP toward a rare contested convention fight.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he thinks Trump may do well in New York, but believes the GOP front runner's antics may be catching up to him, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported. 

"He went too far a long time ago," de Blasio said. "And I think all of public life is abit of a time lapse -- things take awhile to seep in, citizens come to their judgments."

Cruz cast his Wisconsin victory as a "turning point'' in the race and urged the party to rally around his candidacy.

"We've got the full spectrum of the Republican Party coming together and uniting behind this campaign,'' he said.

Trump was unbowed in his defeat. His campaign put out a biting statement accusing Cruz of being "worse than a puppet -- he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.''

The loss in Wisconsin may doom Trump's chance to lock up the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination before the party's convention this summer, but he appears poised to rack up a significant win in his home state.

He has a commanding lead in recent polls and his organizational reach appears to dwarf those of Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders also scored a sweeping victory in Wisconsin's primary that gives him a fresh incentive to keep challenging Hillary Clinton.

"I believe we have an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state," he said.

Clinton congratulated Sanders on Twitter Tuesday and thanked her supporters in Wisconsin.

"To all the voters and volunteers who poured your hearts into this campaign: Forward!'' she wrote.

De Blasio dismissed Sanders' Wisconsin win predicting a a great result for Clinton.

"I can tell you having spent much time over the last week, talking to her campaign leadership and really drilling down with then on the operation in New York City, New York State. I feel very confident about the effort being engaged here," de Blasio said.

Sanders' win will net him a handful of additional delegates, but he'll still lag Clinton significantly. With 86 delegates at stake in Wisconsin, Sanders will pick up at least 45 and Clinton will gain at least 31.

That means Sanders must still win 67 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates in order to win the Democratic nomination.

CBS Political Contributor Bob Schieffer said Sanders is not embarrassing himself by staying in the race, especially because of the FBI investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state.

"No one would blame him for hanging around to see if Hillary Clinton's going to be indicted," he said. "Now, I don't have any evidence that she is or she isn't, but I do know there's an investigation going on and I think he'd be wise to hang around and see what happens on that."

Clinton has denied any wrongdoing.

In the Republican race, Cruz was poised to collect most of Wisconsin's 42 Republican delegates.

Trump still has a narrow path to claim the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7. But by losing Wisconsin, the real estate mogul has little room for error in upcoming contests.

The rules governing New York's set of delegates are complex.

On the Republican side, for instance, 81 are pledged based on results in the state's 27 congressional districts. Three delegates from each district are given to the candidate who wins at least 50 percent of the vote; if no one exceeds that threshold, the winner gets two delegates and the second-place finisher gets one. Another 14 at-large delegates must vote for the first-place finisher on the convention's first ballot.

Trump holds a campaign rally Wednesday in Bethpage while Cruz has a meet-and-greet in the Bronx.

Clinton and Sanders are both campaigning in Pennsylvania Wednesday, but they'll debate in Brooklyn next Thursday.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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