UPPER EAST SIDE — Mitt Romney won the New York Republican primary Tuesday after voters trickled to the polls to cast their votes in a largely symbolic GOP race.
With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Romney dominated with 62 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 16 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, trailing with 13 percent, according to the Associated Press.
While many had hoped New York would play a decisive role in a down-to-the-wire showdown for the nomination, Rick Santorum's exit earlier this month paved the way for a decisive Romney sweep.
"There's not much of a race here, is there?" admitted Republican voter Todd, 60, who declined to give his last name before casting his vote Tuesday evening after work.
Still, the Upper East Side lawyer said he was proud to cast his vote for the former Massachusetts governor.
"I think he has a tremendous command of the issues, particularly on the economic side, and I think the country needs a change," he said, describing the Obama years as "particularly tough."
Polls in the weeks leading up to the race showed Romney with a commanding lead over Gingrich and Paul, the two other men left in the race.
While New York’s contest will help bolster Romney’s lead, with 95 delegates up for grabs, turnout was dismal across the city, where Democrats far outnumber Republicans.
At P.S. 290 on the Upper East Side, there were signs pointing to the ballots, but few voters to be found.
"It's slow," said election worker Kawanne Ruffin, 30, from East Harlem, who said he'd counted only four or five people casting their ballots in the two-and-a-half hours after polls opened at 6 a.m.
At P.S. 6 on East 81st Street, dozens of elections worker sat, flipping through newspapers and chatting as the clock ticked past 6 p.m.
"If we get 50 votes or 60 votes from the whole thing, from all the tables, it's a lot," said election coordinator Dee Demusis, 70, who lives in Midtown and arrived at the polling site at 4:30 a.m.
But even though things were slow, she said she was thrilled to play a part.
"The people who come here and vote come here with enthusiasm," she noted.
Among the voters was Beth, 47, an executive at a non-profit, who also declined to give her last name.
"Voting's really important. You've just got to do it, even if you think it's already decided," she said after casting her ballot for Romney.
"I trust him," she said of the candidate, describing him as a straight shooter far more capable than the president.
"I hope to God that Obama doesn't get re-elected," she said. "I'm scared that he is the leader of our country."
But registered Republican Christopher Kanauth, 82, had his own alternative, and said that he was voting for someone else: Himself.
"Because anybody could do a better job that the President of the United States," he explained.
"Romney will win anyway. He doesn't need my vote."
In addition to high polling numbers, Romney has also enjoyed strong financial backing from the city, with many of his top fundraisers based in New York.
Under this year’s primary rules, Romney will recieve 34 delegates for winning more than 50 percent of the overall state vote, as well as two delegates from each of the state Congressional districts he won.
He also took home delegates in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The primary is only the first of what will be a jam-packed voting season. The primaries for congressional races will be held in June and primaries for state races in September, followed by the general election in November.