US Election 2016

US election 2016: New York primaries crucial for Clinton and Trump

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionNew York could prove pivotal for all of the presidential candidates

New York is holding presidential primaries seen as key for both Republican and Democratic front-runners after their recent defeats.

Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton, a former senator for New York, is expected to win against Brooklyn-born Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

For the Republicans, Queens-born Donald Trump is likely to come ahead of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Wins will put Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump closer to securing their nominations.

As Mr Trump cast his votes at Central Synagogue in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, he said: "It's just an honour, and my whole reason for doing this is to make America great again."

Live coverage: Trump and Clinton poised to win in New York

Mrs Clinton voted with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, near their home in upstate Chappaqua.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Clintons voted at a school near their home upstate

They hope big victories in the delegate-rich state will help them regain momentum and overcome criticism over the strength of their campaigns.

It has been a fierce campaign in the state, with the leading candidates using their local ties to attract voters.

Hillary Clinton was twice elected senator for New York, and a defeat there would be a devastating political blow.

Whereas Mr Trump, who was born in the New York City borough of Queens, lives in a building bearing his name in midtown Manhattan.

The primaries are the state's most decisive in decades in selecting the candidates, and polls will be open until 21:00 (01:00 GMT Wednesday)

Mrs Clinton's side sees the vote as a make-or-break moment, and they say a victory there will virtually seal her Democratic nomination.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDetermining which US candidate is the 'real' New Yorker

Opinion polls have given her a lead over Mr Sanders, who has won seven out of the last eight state votes.

"We are not taking anything for granted,'' Mrs Clinton said. "Tell your friends and your family, everyone, to please vote tomorrow [Tuesday]."

Mr Sanders hopes a victory in New York will keep his candidacy alive, as there are 291 delegates at stake.

The Democratic campaign has turned increasingly negative, with both candidates trading barbs about their qualifications.

On the eve of the primary, Mr Sanders accused Hillary Clinton of campaign finance violations, an allegation her team denied.

For Mr Trump, a win in New York will reduce the chances of a contested nomination at the Republican party convention in July.

The big question is whether he will make a clean sweep of all 95 Republican delegates at stake in New York by earning the majority of votes.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Trump hopes to avoid a contested party convention in securing enough delegates

Polls have given him a clear lead over Ohio Governor John Kasich and Mr Cruz.

The Texas senator has had a poor performance in New York following an earlier comment in which he accused Mr Trump of having "New York values".

Mr Cruz made a few television appearances on Monday defending his remarks, but was already eyeing voters in Pennsylvania, which votes next week.

In a campaign event in Buffalo, Mr Trump told his supporters that "no New Yorker" could vote for Mr Cruz, who did "not represent what we need.''

But he made a slip-of-the-tongue during a speech about the 11 September 2001 attacks, when he erroneously mentioned the name of a popular convenience store chain.

"It's very close to my heart because I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I've ever seen in action," Mr Trump said.

More on the 2016 campaign

Image caption Mr Sanders is one of the most left-leaning candidates in recent history

The Democrats on the issues - How do Mr Sanders and Mrs Clinton compare to past Democrats?

Walls, 9/11 and Syria - 25 things that Donald Trump believes

#BernieMadeMeWhite - Sanders supporters push back against "all-white" narrative

Is Wall Street a problem for Hillary Clinton? - Support from the financial sector is an asset and liability

Full US election coverage from the BBC

More on this story