GOP Presidential Race Finds Some Clarity with Two and Half Men Left Standing

How will Cruz fare in the upcoming contests?

This week brought more clarity to the presidential nominating contest on the Republican side. It is now a two and a half person race. That is there are just two people with a mathematical possibility to be the nominee of the Republican Party Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Then there is John Kasich.

Here is where the race stands today: Donald Trump has 693 Delegates, Ted Cruz has 422 delegates, and John Kasich has 146 delegates. There are 1009 delegates left to be awarded. Only about 90 % of the remaining delegates will actually be bound. This means that Trump needs 54 percent, Cruz 81%, and Kasich 108 percent of the remaining delegates to win a first ballot nomination in Cleveland.

 

Yes, it’s a fact that John Kasich has been mathematically eliminated. He cannot win the nomination on the first ballot, even if you add in the delegates that are now unbound by candidates dropping out of the race. As I showed earlier this week, at this point only 76 of those delegates are actually unbound as of right now.

Following last night’s primary elections, there are now three candidates left in the race. Two have a mathematical path to the nomination, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. A third is in but can’t amass the required 1237 delegates, John Kasich. As the race moves forward, questions are beginning to emerge about the fate of the 183 delegates which have been awarded to candidates no longer in the race. An analysis shows that 98 of those delegates continue to remain bound to their candidate on the first ballot, 76 are now unbound, and it is unclear what happens to nine of the delegates from Tennessee by the state’s rules.

The upcoming week may be a make-or-break week for the Cruz campaign. There are three upcoming contests. Two of the three award delegates, Arizona and Utah. The American Samoa convention selects delegates but they are unbound.

Arizona

Arizona awards 58 delegates in a winner-take-all primary. There are news reports stating that “hundreds of thousands” of early votes have already been cast in Arizona, a state that allows voting up to 26 days before an election.  The conventional wisdom is that Trump has benefited from this early voting.

Utah

Utah is a proportional state. If one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate receives the state’s 40 delegates. Otherwise there is a 15% threshold for delegates. However, there is a caveat. If less than three candidates receive 15 percent of the vote, all candidates will share the vote proportionally. Since there are only three candidates, if Ted Cruz fails to get to 50 percent plus one of the vote total, the result will be proportional, even if John Kasich fails to get 15 percent.

If Donald Trump does win Arizona on Tuesday, and Kasich keeps Cruz from reaching the over 50 percent threshold, it will become increasingly hard for anyone to stop Trump from getting the 1237 delegates he needs for the nomination. If that scenario plays out, Trump would end Tuesday with 765 delegates, Cruz with 442, and Kasich with 151. Trump would need 52 percent of the remaining delegates and Cruz would need 88 percent.

After March 22, the race grinds to a halt for four weeks. Between March 23 and the New York Primary on April 19, only 42 delegates will be bound to a candidate. All other contests in this timeframe have unbound candidates.

Now, if you head doesn’t already hurt with the math above, let’s pivot to the actual convention. If the convention is contested, an almost infinite number of possibilities may emerge. This is because the selection of the delegates themselves is almost completely out of the hands of the presidential candidates themselves. as party rules dictate a number of different ways states can select their delegates. Only 12 states allow the candidate himself to select delegates. The rest have various different processes, some of which were put in motion over a year ago.

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Source: Eno: POTUS Update: GOP Presidential Race Finds Some Clarity with Two and Half Men Left Standing