Donald Trump swept all five Republican primary contests held Tuesday, racking up significant wins in Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton also got close to a sweep in contests in the same states, winning in four of the five northeastern state primaries. Clinton prevailed in Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania, while NBC News projected a win for Sanders in Rhode Island.
The victories for Trump are sure to translate into bigger-than-expected delegate hauls that will move him closer to clinching his party’s nomination. Rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich had hoped to rob Trump of as many delegates as possible by notching strong performances in favorable pockets of each state, but even those small victories largely failed to materialize.
In a press conference, Trump told reporters that he does consider himself "the presumptive nominee" at this point.
Clinton also turned her attention to the general election, calling for party unity in her remarks Tuesday night even as Sanders vowed to press on with his campaign despite all-but-impossible odds of catching his rival in the delegate race.
Follow our live blog below for all the news and analysis of Tuesday's primaries.
RECAP: EAST COAST PRIMARY
That's all for tonight. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich will likely have Hump Day headaches on Wednesday as they face tough questions about the continued viability of their campaigns. Of that group, Sanders was the only one to notch a victory in the five primaries that took place Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, however, strengthened their grasps on their parties nominations with another round of commanding performances. Their victory speeches each indicated a shifting focus on a general election matchup between the two.
You can catch all the night’s action below:
Bernie Sanders indicated in a statement Tuesday that his campaign may now be focused more on influencing the Democratic party platform than on capturing the presidential nomination.
“The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be,” Sanders said in a statement. “That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform.”
Sanders won only in Rhode Island on Tuesday and has struggled in closed primaries where independents are unable to vote. However, the statement is also unequivocal in its message that Sanders plans to continue his campaign despite recent struggles.
In his victory speech Tuesday, Donald Trump did not back down from bringing Hillary Clinton's gender into the 2016 discussion:
Flanked by his family and staff after sweeping all five states Tuesday, Trump said, "I consider myself the presumptive nominee."
"For the five states I am so honored," Trump added from the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan.
He also turned his attention to Indiana, the next primary in one week, saying, "It's going to be something really, really special."
He also thanked... the media.
After thanking the press, he said the media has treated him "fair" over the past couple of weeks.
Perhaps Trump's pivot to being more presidential?
Probably not. Because president's rarely thank the media.
He also said he isn't going to change, because "it got me here."
"I am me," he also said.
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday stressed the need for the Democratic party to unite in the city where she hopes to accept the Democratic presidential nomination in just a few months.
“With your help we’re going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes and the most pledged delegates,” Clinton said to applause. “And we will unify our party to win this election.”
NBC News projected Clinton will win Democratic primaries in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, while rival Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island. Connecticut remains too early to call.
“I applaud Sen. Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality,” Clinton said. “ And I know that together, we will get that done.”
Sanders has acknowledged he has only a “narrow” path to the Democratic nomination, and Tuesday’s results only make it more difficult. But he continues to argue he is the best Democratic candidate to face off against the Republican nominee.
But Clinton’s speech Tuesday was a clear appeal to Sanders’ supporters.
“Whether you support Sen. Sanders or you support me, there is much more that unites us than divides us,” she said.
Donald Trump's campaign manager spoke with NBC's Katy Tur about the real estate mogul's big wins in five states tonight and his pledges to act "more presidential." Watch the exchange here:
Donald Trump has been enjoying his five primary wins at the TIME 100 gala in New York City. All of the remaining candidates were named on the TIME 100 list of influential people. All but Gov. John Kasich...
Asked by NBC News as he left his rally in Indiana about whether the state is a must-win for him, Ted Cruz declined to weigh in.
"It's a very important state," he told NBC News.
Cruz said in his remarks earlier tonight that his campaign is now moving to "more favorable terrain" after Donald Trump swept all five contests in the northeast.
The latest from the Rhode Island Democratic primary contest: NBC News characterizes the race as too early to call, Bernie Sanders now leading.
NBC News characterizes the Connecticut Democratic primary as too close to call.
Ted Cruz attempted to pre-but an expectedly bad night on Tuesday by attacking the media for promoting Donald Trump, he argued, to help Hillary Clinton’s chances in the general election.
“The media is going to say, ‘The race is over.’ The media is going to say that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee,” Cruz said at a Indiana rally while polls closed in five primary states.
Cruz argued that the media, controlled by liberals, will be quick to favor Trump because he will give Hillary Clinton the best chance to win the White House.
Shortly after polls closed, NBC News projected Trump would win the GOP primaries in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Races in Delaware and Rhode Island were too close to call.
Cruz told supporters the primary race now “moves back to more favorable terrain” for his campaign. Indiana will be especially important for the Texas senator if he hopes to prevent Trump from securing the 1,237 delegates needed to prevent Trump from clinching the nomination.
“Can the state of Indiana stop the media’s chosen Republican candidate?” Cruz asked to applause.
Bernie Sanders took the stage just minutes after polls closed in five northeastern states, looking ahead to upcoming primaries. (When he started speaking only Maryland had been called of the five states and opponent Hillary Clinton was projected to be the winner.)
Speaking in West Virginia, which votes in two weeks, Sanders told the crowd that he's going to win in the state "with your help."
He mostly stuck to his stump speech but tailored it to West Virginians, the tenth poorest state in the country according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. He noted that the top one percent in the state saw income increases of 60 percent in recent years.
He also criticized the closed primary system, calling out New York - a state that held it's primary last week - which doesn't allow independents or cross-party voting. (While Sanders lost Maryland by a large margin, he won voters who identify as independent by 54 - 39.)