Pennsylvania went with the front-runners.

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton overwhelmed the competition Tuesday, handily winning their parties' presidential primaries here as they rolled up win after win in other so-called Acela states.

Trump, the outspoken New York developer, far outdistanced his two remaining Republican rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Trump - flanked by Gov. Christie in New York City as he delivered his latest victory speech - declared it "our biggest night."

With most of Pennsylvania's votes counted, Trump was beating Cruz by more than 2½-1 while Kasich ran third.

Clinton had nearly as easy a time defeating her Democratic challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in Pennsylvania, where she led him by double digits, and every other Acela state except Rhode Island.

Accompanied by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, she took the stage in Philadelphia shortly after 9 p.m. to strains of "Eye of the Tiger," theme of the film Rocky III.

"Thank you, Pennsylvania," she called out to hundreds of supporters gathered at the Convention Center. "What a great night."

The crowd responded with a chant of "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary."

"With your help, we're going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes and the most pledged delegates," she said.

Clinton used her 15-minute speech to pivot toward the general election and a presumed campaign against Trump. "Thoughtful Republicans" are not the enemy, she said, leaving her listeners to make the leap to the GOP front-runner. Offering another backhanded reference, she declared that "love trumps hate." Finally, she noted that Trump had recently accused her of playing "the woman card."

"If fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card," she said, "then deal me in." The crowd roared.

Trump claimed victory for the evening at about 10 p.m. at Trump Tower in New York. Accompanied by an entourage that included Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, Trump took the stage to the strains of the Rolling Stones tune "Start Me Up."

"This was, to me, our biggest night," he said, referring to his wins across five states, including Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. "This one is a diverse victory. The whole thing. Every one of them is conclusive and every one of them is very different."

He, too, pivoted quickly to the general election.

"We will beat Hillary so easily," he said. "I think she is a flawed candidate. . . . She will not be a good president. She does not have the strength. She does not have the stamina."

He tweaked her further by praising the surprising success Sanders has had in the campaign. "Frankly, I think he should run as an independent," he said.

The GOP delegate drama

For Trump, some real work remains.

Despite his overwhelming win at the polls, Trump is guaranteed only 17 of Pennsylvania's 71 GOP delegates.

The remaining 54, elected three per congressional district, are uncommitted. They represent the largest block of such GOP delegates in the nation.

Their ultimate loyalty appears critical to Trump's chances of securing the 1,237 delegates he needs to win his party's nomination on the first ballot at the Republican convention in Cleveland in July.

By the same token, Cruz and Kasich need as many of those 54 as possible to have any chance of derailing Trump and forcing a contested convention.

For weeks, delegate candidates have been getting the soft sell from the three campaigns. As of Wednesday, the pitch should harden dramatically.

Calvin Tucker, a Republican delegate candidate from Philadelphia's East Mount Airy neighborhood, said he had not been courted like this since he and his wife dated 40 years ago.

Tucker, a 63-year-old financial services contractor, has had "one-on-one" time with Kasich at the Conshohocken Marriott, met with Trump in New York, and was wooed by a Cruz surrogate, Carly Fiorina.

"I'm truly uncommitted," he said. "I didn't vote for any presidential candidate because I wanted to preserve the integrity of the system."

For the Democrats, the math is simpler: 189 delegates were being chosen Tuesday in Pennsylvania, while an additional 21 are superdelegates, typically officeholders and party leaders.

By any measure, Clinton comes out of Pennsylvania stronger than she went in.

Which is fine by Tamaha Davis, 38, a sanitation worker from West Philadelphia.

"I was thinking of Bernie, but I figured, we got a black president, so let us get a woman president," Davis said when he voted Tuesday. "Let's cross all the boundaries. Let's see something different."

Big day, strong turnout

Davis was part of a wave of voters drawn to the polls by the most competitive and impactful presidential primary in Pennsylvania in decades.

Turnout was reported strong regionwide.

"By 1 p.m. we already will have had as many voters as in any primary anyone can remember," said Dan Sipe, judge of elections at the Bala Gymnasium in Lower Merion. "My neighbor, Bernice Beck, who is 98, said she'd never seen anything like this."

At the Land Title Building in Center City, voters filtered in and out steadily Tuesday, numbering about 600 by lunchtime.

Eric Maister, 53, a career services coordinator, was enthusiastic.

"Hillary, Hillary, Hillary!" Maister said when asked his choice. "I think her ideals match mostly with mine. She's not crazy like Bernie. He's off the wall. He means well, but I don't think he can get the stuff done that he says he can. But you know just the fact that he emerged I think will keep her very on point this time."

Trump had support in Northeast Philadelphia's Fox Chase section as well. "Sometimes he's just shooting his mouth off," said Susan Craney, 59, a retired nurse, voting at Knowlton Mansion. "But he has good ideas in screening people more carefully when they're coming into the country."

At Narberth's municipal building, Democrat Lisa Saltzman, 49, said she struggled with her decision for months but was swayed by an op-ed in the New York Times that reported 50 percent of what Clinton says is "true or mostly true." (The article gave her a better score than any candidate except Kasich.)

Besides, as an art-history professor at a women's college, Bryn Mawr, she wanted to vote for a woman.

At the Newportville Fire Company in Bristol Township, Helene Mershon, 61, a Democrat, was disappointed to learn she could not vote for the day's other big winner: Trump.

"I don't like how the government makes you choose," she said. "I want to be able to vote for who I want."

An administrative assistant and Uber driver, she supports Trump "because he doesn't seem like the same-old, same-old. . . . I don't think he's going to take any crap from anybody."

Since she couldn't vote for Trump, she voted for Sanders over Clinton on the Democratic ballot.

Clinton is too typical of "what we already have," Mershon said. "We need different."

jterruso@phillynews.com

215-854-5506 @juliaterruso

Contributing to this article were staff writers Jane M. Von Bergen, Claudia Vargas, Michael Matza, Samantha Melamed, Michaelle Bond, and Tricia L. Nadolny.