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Trump Leads GOP Ahead Of N.Y. Primary

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are in the final stretch before the New York presidential primary. Most election years, that's not so much of an event. This year - well, this isn't most election years. In a moment, we'll get the lay of the Democratic land from New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. First though, the Republicans. New York is Donald Trump's home state. He's hoping GOP voters will turn out for him in droves Tuesday. NPR's Sarah McCammon has spent the weekend following the Trump campaign. She joins me now. Good morning, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: Ted Cruz and John Kasich are hoping for the best, but Donald Trump is counting on a big win in New York. What kind of crowds have you been seeing for him this weekend?

MCCAMMON: He's getting good crowds but not necessarily, you know, a full house. Where I was yesterday in Syracuse, he opened up by saying, oh, lots of people are waiting to get in. But there was no evidence that that was true. And, you know, while it was a large venue, it wasn't full. But, you know, he seemed happy to be back in New York, his home state. Here's what he had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I love being with you people - the same accent. I have the same accent. I have - unfortunately for all of us right? I have that same beautiful little twang as you do.

MCCAMMON: And Trump is relying on his home state to give him a big boost toward that 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination, hoping for a sweep here of all 95 of New York's Republican delegates which would take 50 percent or more of both the statewide vote and each congressional district. So kind of a tall order...

MARTIN: Yeah.

MCCAMMON: ...In his home state.

MARTIN: That clip you played, though, gets to something deeper, that Donald Trump isn't just from New York. He's built his career, his whole persona on being a New Yorker, right, this dealmaker and developer and someone who's integral to the identity of the city, if not the state. Is that long history reflected in Trump's support there?

MCCAMMON: You know, it seems to be. He's making much of that. Earlier this week in New York City, he spoke at a state Republican Party fundraiser. It was a pretty establishment crowd, $1,000 a plate. Talked a lot about his history in New York and particularly at this venue, The Grand Hyatt Hotel, which was a project that he developed early in his real estate career and kind of made his reputation at that point. And he was warmly received. You know, he got a lot of applause. People seemed to be paying much closer attention to him than they did to Ted Cruz or John Kasich. So, you know, New York is his home turf.

MARTIN: What about protests, Sarah? We've been seeing, almost on a regular basis, protesters show up at Donald Trump rallies. New York is such a diverse place - New York City such a community of immigrants. As a result of that, what do the protests look like? Are they bigger? Are they more energetic there?

MCCAMMON: Certainly in New York City, hundreds of people we saw coming out to protest Trump this week. This is a diverse place of - has a long history of immigration and lots of immigrants in New York City. Both in New York City and in Syracuse yesterday, I heard chants focused on opposing Trump's stances on refugee issues and on immigration. At the same time, though, upstate New York is less diverse. It's more industrial, more manufacturing jobs that have suffered. And so that area's pretty friendly to Trump. But he is, again, doing well in the polls statewide.

MARTIN: NPR's Sarah McCammon following the Trump campaign in New York. Thanks so much, Sarah.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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