Donald Trump took key steps closer to becoming the eventual Republican nominee for president on Tuesday thanks to voters in the Northeast.
NBC News called the contests in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut shortly after the polls closed, describing his victories as "significant." Another 30 minutes later the outlet called the final two races in Delaware and Rhode Island for Trump as well.
On the Democratic side the race was immediately called for Hillary Clinton in Maryland, but nowhere else.
Trump entered Tuesday as the overwhelming favorite in the Northeast, with a double digit lead ahead of his remaining rivals Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich in all of Tuesday's states.
Tuesday's big night for Trump comes on the heels of Cruz and Kasich striking up a "stop Trump" deal over the weekend. The deal was brokered in hopes of blocking the front-runner from becoming the GOP presidential nominee, but won't be tested until next week.
Check out the latest photos from the campaign trail:
Trump did not hesitate to attack his rivals for their "pathetic" deal.
"If you collude in business they put you in jail. But in politics, because it's a rigged system, because it's a corrupt enterprise, in politics you're allowed to collude. And actually I was happy, because it shows how weak they are, it shows how pathetic they are," Trump said in response.
At this point in the primary both Kasich and Cruz can spoil the billionaire businessman from grabbing the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. However, Kasich and Cruz have both made it clear they plan to do the necessary work to ensure a contested convention in July.
"Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland," Kasich's chief strategist John Weaver said in a statement on Sunday.
Trump has started to shift his focus to the May 3 Indiana contest, with plans to bring former Indiana Basketball coach Bobby Knight on the campaign trail.
BY: WILLIAM STEAKIN
RELATED: Check out the books Trump and other candidates have written