While Donald Trump is roughly 200 delegates ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, his odds of winning the GOP nomination outright before going to Cleveland have shrunk in recent weeks.
If Trump wants to avoid a contested convention showdown in July, he needed a big win tonight in New York. It appears Trump will get the lopsided victory in New York he needs.
Based off early exit polls, Trump will easily carry the state. But since it is not a winner-take-all state, his margin of victory in New York matters.
The state has 95 delegates up for grabs, which represents more than 10 percent of the remaining delegates.
Going into the New York primary, Trump was 481 delegates shy of reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination. In order for Trump to win the nomination before the convention, he will need to win roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates, including those from Tuesday's primary.
Based off the evening's results, Trump picked up at least 80 percent of New York's 95 delegates.
"We have won millions of more votes than Ted Cruz, millions and millions more than John Kasich," Trump said. "Close to 300 more delegates than Ted Cruz, we are really rocking."
Trump has lost some ground in recent week. States such as North Dakota and Colorado have held closed-door caucuses, which have largely gone in Cruz’s favor. Trump has criticized Republican leaders for not having open primary contests, where Trump has done much better in compared to closed caucuses.
Trump fired shots at the Cruz campaign for claiming victory from the closed-door caucuses.
"No body should be given delegates, which is a ticket to victory and even though we are leading by a lot, no body should claim victory with voters and voting," Trump said. "You watch, the people aren’t going to stand for it. It is a crooked system."
Most national polls have Trump winning New York with 60 percent of the vote, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz splitting the rest of the vote.
New York awards 14 of the 95 delegates to the overall state winner if that candidate has cleared the 50 percent threshold. The other 81 delegates apportioned to New York's 27 congressional districts. If a candidate wins with more than 50 percent of the vote, he will take all three of that district's delegates. If he wins with just a plurality of the vote, he will win two delegates, with the runner-up taking the third delegate.
Out of New York's 27 congressional districts, Trump had at least 50 percent of the vote as nearly 96 percent of the vote was in at Midnight Eastern. In the four districts where Trump did not have the majority of the vote, he had a plurality in three districts.
Kasich is the apparent winner of New York's 12th congressional district, which represents parts of Manhattan and Queens.
While late absentee and provisional ballots will be tallied in the coming days, it appears that Trump has won 90 delegates, while Kasich earned five. That leaves Cruz leaving New York empty handed.
Trump's win in New York essentially ends any hopes Cruz had of winning the nomination outright before the Republican National Convention.
Trump quickly turned his focus to next week's races, which features a number of Northeast states, including Pennsylvania.
"We expect to have an amazing few weeks. When you look at Pennsylvania, Indiana and Rhode Island, we have problems every where you look. One of the big problems is the economy and jobs and that is my wheelhouse," Trump said.
Cruz, not attending any events in New York Tuesday evening, did not directly comment on the race except for a tweet moments before polls closed.
"We will restore our spirit. We will free our minds & imagination. We will create a better world. We will bring back jobs, freedom and security," Cruz tweeted.