Local voters pick winners in New York presidential primary

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Nassau County voters helped Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump solidify their leads in the presidential race on Tuesday in New York’s primary elections.

Voters leaving the polls at Trinity Lutheran Church in North New Hyde Park predicted the frontrunners would take both parties’ races after casting votes for their challengers.

“If I was a betting man, I would bet Hillary was going to win,” said Dan Murray, a registered Democrat who voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Democratic leader Clinton beat Sanders by more than 30 points in Nassau’s portion of the Third Congressional District on the North Shore, taking 65.33 percent of the vote to his 34.67 percent.

The former New York senator and secretary of state won by 22 points in southwestern Nassau’s Fourth Congressional District covering New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Floral Park, Mineola and the southern parts of Williston Park and East Williston, taking 62.24 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 37.76 percent.

Fazl Haq of New Hyde Park voted for Clinton because of her ability to win elections and her national and international experience.

“She knows much more than Bernie, I think,” he said.

His wife, Syeda Haq, said she supported Sanders because he believes in his conviction and proposals to improve the country, even though she was not sure he would win the primary.

“Even though he’s not (going to) win, I think I try at least — try at least for a good person,” she said.

Republican frontrunner Trump won both congressional districts by an even larger margin in his party’s primary, taking 66.78 percent of the North Shore’s votes.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in second with 24.62 percent in Nassau’s part of the Third District, which includes Roslyn, Manhasset, Great Neck, Port Washington, Albertson and the northern sections of the Willistons. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz trailed in third with 8.6 percent.

Trump similarly won the Fourth District with 66.45 percent of the votes to Kasich’s 22.98 percent and Cruz’s 10.57 percent.

Dan Murray’s wife Liz Murray said Cruz won her over in the past week with his “calm, educated standpoint.”

She said she is not against Trump and expected him to win Tuesday, but she wishes he would be “more diplomatic” in the way in which he speaks.

“If people actually paid attention and listened over the past week, then Ted Cruz did a good job representing (himself),” she said.

Steve Simon of New Hyde Park said he’s supported Cruz as a “constitutional conservative” since he was Texas’ solicitor general before his election to the Senate.

Simon thinks Kasich should be out of the race for the GOP nomination, he said, but he he expected Trump to win New York’s race Tuesday.

The state has closed primaries, meaning voters can only cast ballots for the party with which they are registered. The deadline to change party registration was in October.

Sanders supporter Chris Tritto said he had to cast an affidavit ballot because he is registered as an independent and could not normally vote in the Democratic primary.

“It wasn’t as easy to vote as I thought it would be,” he said.

Tuesday’s election was marked by reported complaints of voters being removed from registration rolls and some polling places opening late.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office had received more than 700 election complaints by 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, Politico reported. 

Sanders’ campaign reportedly called the removal of voters from Democratic rolls a “disgrace.”

Williston Park poll worker Pat Esposito said about 20 voters — most of them identifying as Republicans — wanted to cast primary ballots for a party different from the one on their registrations. They thought they were registered Republicans or Democrats until the county Board of Elections told them otherwise over the phone, she said.

The primary got the largest turnout Esposito has seen in 20 years, she said.

“Many people don’t come out for the primary, so that’s why they’re getting jammed up,” she said. “They’re not trying to sneak.”

Debbie Healy of New Hyde Park said she is a registered Republican, but she did not like any of the candidates and wrote in Tom Brady.

“Nobody can tell me what they can do to make this country great again, and whatever Donald Trump says, it’s not going to work,” she said. “It’s very frustrating.”

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