LOS ANGELES • Mr Donald Trump took a major step towards clinching the Republican Party's nomination for the 2016 US presidential race with a victory in the Washington state primary.
Early results showed Mr Trump receiving 76 per cent of the vote, according to Washington's secretary of state's office.
Mr Trump is the party's presumptive nominee, and while he is not officially the flagbearer yet, he is on the cusp. He had amassed 1,189 delegates prior to the Washington state vote, according to a CNN tally, just 48 delegates short of the 1,237 needed for the nomination.
Washington has 44 delegates up for grabs. Mr Trump will therefore cross the threshold and clinch the nomination on June 7, when California and four other states vote on the final day of the Republican primary contest.
Mr Trump will be officially installed as the Republican presidential nominee at the party's national nominating convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July.
And his road to raising US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) for the general election just got a lot smoother.
A group of 20 Republican donors, a who's who of the party's financing apparatus, pledged on Tuesday to help bring in cash to fund Mr Trump's run for the White House.
The announcement could help quell predictions that Mr Trump would not get enough support from traditional party donors, many of whom have been openly critical of him up to now.
A joint press statement from the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee listing the donors came as the candidate holds his first two fund-raisers in coordination with the RNC this week.
His race for the White House, though, is far from smooth as his main challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, turns up the heat.
Mrs Clinton, seeking to dampen Mr Trump's growing appeal with working-class voters, on Tuesday accused him of having cheered on the 2008 housing market crash.
Her campaign released an ad with audio that the presumptive Republican nominee recorded in 2006 for his now-defunct Trump University venture.
Mr Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, in remarks on a "bubble burst", said: "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy" property and "make a lot of money".
Mr Trump defended his comments at a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday evening saying that buying when the housing market was down showed smart deal-making skills that he would bring to the White House. "I'm a businessman, that's what I'm supposed to do," he said.
Outside the rally, protesters threw stones at police horses and lit fires, according to the police and postings on social media. Live video aired by KOAT-TV showed officers pushing protesters onto pavements. The police reported that their horses were being attacked.
The police said on Twitter that the only arrests had been inside the rally, but no figures were provided.
The raucous scene outside the convention centre was matched by Mr Trump's fiery tone inside the rally, which protesters disrupted less than three minutes after he started speaking.
He took aim at Mrs Clinton's voice - a complaint that many viewed as sexist. "She screams and it drives me crazy," he said.
Mr Trump did take time to note that he thought he was beginning to appeal to more female voters, a group with whom he has low favourability ratings.
"I want to set records with women, not with men," he said. "The hell with the men! Right? The hell with the men. I want to set records with women! But we are doing good. We are doing good."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK TIMES