There is a lot going on this week even though most of the attention in the race is focused on New York.
On Tuesday, the Empire State will choose their favorite candidates for both of the major political parties, but the outcome of the race will likely not have much of an impact in changing the trajectory in the race for the GOP nomination. In fact, one of the two frontrunners wasn’t even in New York on Tuesday. Instead, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was busy stumping through Pennsylvania, a state where he figures to fare better than in New York.
Why Pennsylvania? Because the Cruz team has studied the process and knows that even if Cruz finishes in 3rd place in PA, they can win about half of Pennsylvania’s delegates!
“That’s indicative of where he and his campaign see this race going, to Pennsylvania, where they are looking to make a play for these unbound delegates. Even if they come in a distant third, a top campaign aide tells me, they will still, they believe, pick up more than half the delegates there.”
How is this possible? Because of the Keystone State’s primary rules.
54 of the Commonwealth’s 71 delegates to the Republican National Convention will be directly elected (their names appear on the ballot) in a LOOPHOLE type primary, in which delegates are elected separately from a presidential preference.
In fact, only 17 of the states 71 delegates are bound to the winner of the primary; the rest are directly elected by the voters and are not bound to any candidate.
While Mr. Trump’s supporters may not like the system, New Jersey Republican Steve Lonegan explains that this is not a beauty contest, it’s the same system that has been in place for over 100 years.
Real Clear Politics’ (RCP) Sean Trende agreed with Lonegan while talking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, but he also explained that the Republican Party should be very careful about trying to make any changes to the nominating rules, because the entire nation will be watching very closely.
If I’m reading things right I think that the rest of the race will play out kind of like this.
- Donald Trump will do well over the next few weeks (to a month) winning the majority of the delegates at stake.
- However, he won’t win enough of them to reach the magic number, 1,237, before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
- Senator Cruz’s campaign will continue outworking everyone for 2nd ballot delegates, even as he continues to come in 2nd in most of the remaining primary states.
- The Republican Rules Committee will NOT change the rules heading into the convention, meaning that John Kasich (or any candidate not named Trump or Cruz) will NOT be able to be nominated at the convention.
All of this put together means that I believe Ted Cruz will indeed be the next GOP nominee for President. What a strange campaign we’re witnessing…
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