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Clinton, Trump try to fend off competition in Delaware

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Dover, Del. (AP) — For the first time in recent memory, Delaware’s presidential primary could make a difference on the national political stage. Unlike in past contests, Democrats and Republicans will be voting Tuesday with neither major party yet having a clear presumptive nominee. Whoever wins the GOP primary will have the support of the state’s 16 delegates, at least on the first ballot, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Delaware Democrats will be sending 31 delegates to their party’s national convention in Philadelphia, including 10 superdelegates. The other 21 delegates will be apportioned between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders based on Tuesday’s results.

Some other facts about Delaware’s presidential primary:

THE SPOTLIGHT

In the past, presidential nominations usually have been decided before Delaware holds its primary. But with Sanders and Clinton still going toe-to-toe in the Democratic race, and Ted Cruz and John Kasich trying to prevent Donald Trump from winning enough delegates to seal the GOP nomination, candidates are not taking Delaware for granted. Sanders spoke at a weekend rally in Wilmington, while Clinton made her own visit to Wilmington on Monday, one day after her husband made an unannounced stop at a Wilmington diner. Meanwhile, Trump drew thousands of people to a rally last week at the state fairgrounds in Harrington. Kasich and Cruz, whose mother was born in Wilmington, opted not to visit the First State.

THE NUMBERS

Because Tuesday’s election consists only of a presidential primary, state officials are consolidating some election districts, also known as precincts. All buildings that traditionally serve as polling places will be open, but some election districts that would normally report separately will be consolidated. Results will be reported from 313 precincts on Tuesday, compared to more than 430 precincts reporting in a general election. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday’s primary is a closed contest, meaning only registered Republicans and registered Democrats can cast votes in their respective primaries. Unaffiliated voters, who account for 23.3 percent of Delaware’s roughly 600,000 registered voters, will remain on the sidelines until the November general election, when their input could decide which candidate takes the state’s three electoral votes. Currently, registered Democrats account for about 47.3 percent of the state’s registered voters, while Republicans account for just over 28 percent.

THE WEATHER

The National Weather Service says scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop ahead of a cold front on Tuesday, with some afternoon and evening storms having the potential to produce locally damaging winds and hail.

“I’m getting nervous about the weather now,” said state Democratic Party chairman John Daniello on Monday. “I think that might knock down the turnout somewhat.” Daniello, who said he expects Democratic turnout to be significantly lower than in the 2008 primary, said he believes bad weather may dissuade some older voters from going to the polls, which likely would work against Clinton.

State GOP Chairman Charlie Copeland said he expects heavy turnout on the Republican side, regardless of the weather.

“I don’t think a couple of thunderstorms are going to stop anybody,” he said.

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