Strong numbers in Erie County boost Trump's GOP Primary win
Erie County Republicans who are backing Donald Trump's presidential bid had plenty to smile about on Primary Night. Trump's local numbers exceeded expectations on a night when nearly half of the county's registered Republican voters came out to vote.
There was never any question as to whether Donald Trump would win the New York Republican Primary on Tuesday. The questions were by what margin would he win and how many delegates he would secure at the end of the night.
GOP loyalists gathered inside the party's headquarters in downtown Buffalo to watch primary results in what Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy suggested would be a low-key event.
"The big party was last night," he said, referring to Trump's campaign rally inside First Niagara Center.
As the gathering began to wind down for the night, Trump had gained at least 60 percent of the vote in the portions of two congressional districts located within Erie County. In the 26th District, currently held by Democrat Brian Higgins, Trump secured 64 percent of the vote. In the 27th District, held by Republican and Trump campaign activist Chris Collins, Trump secured about 67 percent of the vote.
Statewide polls leading up to Primary Day suggested Trump would secure around 52 percent of the overall Republican vote.
Voter turnout in Erie County was strong, according to Langworthy, who spoke to reporters shortly after receiving an update from the Erie County Board of Elections.
"It appears we've got the most Republican votes ever cast in a primary here tonight," he said. "We're very proud of the turnout. It's nearing 45 percent."
Not all who were in attendance were supporters of Trump. Assemblyman Ray Walter, a John Kasich backer, appeared and mingled with party peers. He admitted that the Buffalo area is clearly "Trump country." But Kasich finished second in Erie County and earned a handful of delegates statewide. Walter remained hopeful that Kasich would still be in the running in what he expects will be a contested convention in Cleveland.
But he also hinted that if his candidate doesn't get the nod, he'll join others within his party to focus on the biggest prize of the general election.
"At the end of the day, nothing is going to unite the Republicans more than Hillary Clinton," Walter said. "No matter who the nominee ends up being, we're going to unite as a party around that person and we're going to go in November and try to win the White House back."