PHILADELPHIA - With New York behind them, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton brought their campaigns to Pennsylvania Wednesday for what promises to be the state’s most raucous presidential primary races in recent memory.
Cruz, still hoping to derail Donald Trump’s drive for the GOP nomination, rallied supporters at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, where he promised to ultimately prevail at the party’s national convention in Cleveland.
“The most powerful force in our time is the grass-roots of the American people rising,” Cruz said. “We must unite the Republican Party, because if we are divided we lose.”
Clinton was to hold two events, both in heavily-Democratic Philadelphia. The Democratic frontrunner was to speak first at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, where she was to stand with two black mothers who had lost their children to violent encounters with police. Later she was to travel to Fishtown for a rally at the Filmore.
The visits by Cruz and Clinton were the latest in what is expected to be a barrage of presidential campaign stops across Pennsylvania between now and Tuesday’s primary.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brings his increasingly quixotic campaign for the Democratic nomination back to the state on Thursday with stops in Scranton, Reading and Montgomery County. The latter will be at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third candidate vying for the Republican nomination, will hold a town meeting at the Penn State Brandywine campus in Delaware County at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Trump will be in Harrisburg for an evening campaign rally.
On Wednesday, however, the state belonged to Cruz and Clinton.
Cruz is hoping to rebound from the drubbing he received in New York’s primary Tuesday, which saw Trump exploiting his home state advantage to claim 60 percent of the Republican vote and a vast majority of the state’s delegates. Cruz managed just 15 percent of vote, trailing even Kasich.
Speaking to hundreds of supporters in Hershey, Cruz dismissed an assertion by Trump that his New York win means the primary race is over.
“Upon winning his home state, Donald with a characteristic display of humility declared this race is over – Manhattan has spoken and if the rest of the voters would quietly go home now and allow him to give the general election to Hillary, all will be better,” Cruz said, mockingly.
Instead, the Texas senator predicted he will be the one standing after Republicans gather in Cleveland this summer.
“As we stand here today there are two, and only two, candidates who have any plausible path whatsoever to earning the Republican nomination: me and Donald Trump,” said Cruz. “If we nominate Donald, Hillary wins – Hillary wins by double-digits.”
In his 30-minute speech, Cruz hit many of the same themes he did during his first visit to Pennsylvania this month: the need for smaller government and stronger national security. He reiterated his pledge to repeal Obamacare, cut off benefits for illegal immigrants, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and institute a flat tax that would allow Americans to file their taxes “on a postcard.”
Of the choice facing Democratic voters, Cruz quipped: “The Democratic field consists of a wild-eyed socialist with ideas that are dangerous for America and the world – and Bernie Sanders.”
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