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US networks: Trump projected winner of New York Republican primary

Republican front-runner Donald Trump has been projected to win most of New York's delegates. Exit polls suggest a majority of New York Republicans support a relative outsider like the billionaire mogul.

Exit polls project Republican front-runner Donald Trump as winning the presidential primary in his home state of New York, US television networks report.

The projections, released minutes after polls in the state closed 9 p.m. Tuesday local time (0100 UTC) in the state, show a large majority of New York Republican Party members want the next president to be a political outsider.

CNN cited early returns showing Trump won the Republican primary with 68.6 percent of the vote, ahead of his evangelical rival Ted Cruz on 13.6 percent and Ohio Governor John Kasich on 17.8 percent, with just 1 percent of the vote counted.

Officials results are expected late Tuesday, local time.

Voting in New York was

marred by irregularities,

including more than 125,000 people missing from New York City rolls out of roughly 4 million voters considered active for the party primaries.

Comptroller Scott Stringer - the city's top auditor - ordered an audit of the city elections board after it confirmed names were indeed missing from voter rolls.

But the billionaire's strong showing does not necessarily cement his nomination. If Trump does not secure enough delegates needed to win the Republican nomination outright at the party's July 18-21 convention in Cleveland, delegates would be allowed to switch to other candidates.

That could be a vulnerability for Trump as he remains unpopular with the Republican leaders and activists who select and serve as delegates.

His nearest rival, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, left New York before the polls even closed, turning his attention to the state of Pennsylvania, where he delivered a speech calling on Americans to join together to move the country forward.

"Let us unite on the things that have always made us great," Cruz said.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was seeking to add to his scant delegate total in New York and keep up his bid to play spoiler at the convention. Kasich has refused to end his campaign despite winning only his home state.

But on the Democratic Party side, US networks said it was too early to call the contest between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, signalling a close race.

jar/se (AP, Reuters)

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