Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump further solidified his lead in the Republican presidential nominating contest Tuesday, racking up victories in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton added to her aura of inevitability Tuesday by winning a majority of delegates in the Maryland Democratic primary for president.
The Associated Press called races in those states for Trump and Maryland's Democratic race for the former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state shortly after most polls closed at 8 p.m.
Trump had criticized the Republican establishment and his two remaining challengers in recent days for trying to keep him from collecting a majority of delegates before the GOP convention in July.
But decisive victories in Maryland, the second-biggest prize available Tuesday, and delegate-rich Pennsylvania helped the businessman and reality TV star in his march to garner the necessary 1,237 delegates to avoid a floor fight in Cleveland.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced a loose alliance on Monday to draw delegate votes away from Trump in future contests. Before voting began Tuesday, Trump was poised to sweep all of the day's five primaries, including those in Rhode Island and Delaware.
Carroll County Republicans gave Trump about 56 percent of the vote, with Kasich garnering about 21 percent and Cruz taking 19, with 36 of 39 precincts in the county reporting as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, mirroring statewide results.
David Flinkman, who said he was concerned about jobs and a national defense he believes was weakened by Democratic President Barack Obama, believes Trump has the leadership skills necessary to improve the country's prospects.
"I really think that someone like an old-fashioned, fatherly type figure, like a Trump, has the ability to bring the right people together to make a difference," Flinkman said outside his polling place at Mechanicsville Elementary School in Gamber. "To bring the American economy back … and stop the politically correct nonsense that has stymied everything."
Flinkman said he wasn't concerned about any of Trump's sometimes controversial statements and said he believes that Trump is someone who says it like it is.
"I can get past the negative rhetoric," he said.
Charles Spera, of Westminster, said he hopes Trump wins in November.
"These politicians have been in there for too damn long. It wasn't designed to be a career job," Spera said. "Trump will enforce a lot of laws and not let illegal immigrants into the country. We need to clean house, and that's what he says he going to do."
The rancorous Republican contest left some moderate Maryland Republicans frustrated they didn't see a candidate who reflected their values.
"This election cycle has been manic insanity. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you're on, it's ludicrous," said Carl Schnepple, of Finksburg, who voted for Kasich.
"It really makes you question if this is the best we can do," he said. "I don't think Kasich has a chance, but I can't wrap my head around Trump."
The Republican front-runner held two rallies in Maryland in the last week, in the state's Republican strongholds of Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.
Clinton had been leading Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by double-digit polls in Maryland and racked up support from most of the state's Democratic establishment.
Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stumped for his wife at West Baltimore churches on Sunday, and her daughter, Chelsea, held events in a late-primary state unaccustomed to playing a meaningful role in selecting presidential nominees.
Among Carroll Democrats, the vote was much closer than it was statewide, with Sanders edging Clinton by a handful of votes with 36 of 39 precincts reporting at about 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Zach Pascoe, of Hampstead, said he thought Sanders was the better choice.
"I like that his votes have been consistent. The things he believed in 30 years ago are the things he believes in today," he said. "I'm just not jiving on Hillary Clinton this year."