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Maryland voters push Clinton, Trump closer to finish line

Billionaire Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are projected to win their Maryland primary contests. (AP)

WASHINGTON — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are projected to win their respective primary races in Maryland, propelling them closer to a general election showdown.

Trump attracted a broad coalition of Republican voters as he won presidential primary elections in all five states on Tuesday, pulling in support from young and old, men and women and those who want a candidate who will shake things up. His rout was a blow to rivals who are running out of ways to stop the brash billionaire.

On the Democratic side, Clinton drew overwhelming support from women and black voters as she beat Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Maryland primary.

With her victories in Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania, Clinton is now at least 90 percent of way to clinching the nomination. Sanders prevented a sweep for Clinton with a win in Rhode Island.

In Maryland, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, Clinton was supported by large majorities of black voters, most women and those looking for an experienced candidate. Democratic voters in all three states also saw her as the best candidate to beat Trump. Sanders won a majority of men and drew the support of younger voters.

Trump won across nearly all demographic groups — gender, education and income levels alike — in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. With the exception of the youngest voters in Maryland, he won all age groups in each state.

The billionaire businessman also did well with those most concerned about the state of the U.S. economy, and he bested Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with voters who want the next president to tell it like it is or bring needed change to the country.

Overall, a large majority of Republican voters want the candidate with the most votes in the primaries to prevail at the party convention in Cleveland — and most of them supported Trump.

For Cruz, it was a rough night. Three in 10 in Maryland said they wouldn’t vote for Cruz if he was the GOP nominee. He came in third in the state behind Kasich with about 19 percent of the vote.

Still, most Republicans in Maryland said they are voting for their candidate, rather than against his opponents. Only a quarter of voters in Maryland said they voted for someone because they opposed the other candidates.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Maryland want the next president to continue the policies of Barack Obama — 61 percent — rather than a move to more or less liberal policies. Roughly a third of voters want a candidate who cares about people, the exit polls show.

Six in 10 Maryland Democratic voters saw Clinton as the best candidate to handle gun policy and more than half saw her as the more inspiring candidate.

Nearly 6 in 10 Maryland Democrats say Wall Street hurts the economy. Sanders voters were more negative, with two-thirds saying Wall Street is harmful, while Clinton voters were closely divided.

Maryland Republicans are slightly more positive about Wall Street: about half say it helps the economy and about 4 in 10 say it is detrimental.

Trump won statewide, claiming victory in every county. Clinton led in all but three — ceding Allegany, Carroll and Garrett counties to Sanders.

The GOP front-runner nabbed about 54 percent of the vote in Maryland, with Kasich coming in second with about 23 percent. Clinton had 63 percent of the Democratic vote, with Sanders getting about 33 percent.

Trump made two campaign stops in Maryland last week to shore up his support. Clinton dispatched her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to Baltimore Sunday, and the candidate herself campaigned in the state earlier in the month.

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley did not appear on the Democratic ballot after suspending his campaign for the Democratic nomination months ago.

No problems were reported at any local polling locations. However, a judge ordered four polling locations in Baltimore to stay open an extra hour. The locations opened late and the campaign of Donna Edwards requested extending voting hours.

The polls elsewhere in Maryland closed at 8 p.m.

Voters statewide also selected congressional candidates. And in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, voters also choose school board candidates.

Virginia held its presidential primaries on May 1 giving Trump and Clinton wins on Super Tuesday. D.C. Republicans held a state convention throwing their support behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has since suspended his campaign. D.C. Democrats will go to the polls in June.

WTOP’s Amanda Iacone and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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