Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | GOP2016 | Ted Cruz | trump | cruz | kasich

Cruz and Trump in a Heated Battle

Image: Cruz and Trump in a Heated Battle
(Paul Sancya/AP)

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Wednesday, 06 Apr 2016 11:11 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that Ted Cruz has won the Wisconsin primary it will be harder than ever for a candidate to be a clear winner.

This means — for the first time since 1948 — that the Republican nominee will be determined at a contested convention.

Cruz’s sweep (51 percent) of the primary probably meant he got 24 delegates from Wisconsin and in all likelihood will get all 42 of its convention delegates. But the Texas senator still has a tall order to secure nomination: He needs to put in his corner 83 percent of the 832 delegates remaining to be selected.

Donald Trump still leads in committed delegates, with 740 of the 1,237 needed to nominate. But he has to win 60 percent of the delegates remaining to be chosen. Given the controversial billionaire’s rising negative poll numbers, this is going to difficult.

In addition, Trump will be competing in a far different political universe than that in which he won his greatest victories.

With only three of the original candidates left in the race, Trump’s showing has been far less impressive than earlier. In three contests featuring Trump, Cruz, and John Kasich, Trump is 1 and 2—winning Arizona but losing to Cruz in Utah and now Wisconsin.

Polls still give Trump healthy leads in New York and New Jersey, which will hold primaries April 19 and June 7 respectively, there are beginning to be doubts over whether he will sweep the delegates there.

In an interview with me last Friday, Ohio’s Gov. Kasich said "We’re running second in virtually all the congressional districts in New York [in the April 19 primary] and then we’ll come [to Pennsylvania] for the primary April 26.”

According to a just-completed Franklin and Marshall College Poll of likely Pennsylvania voters, Kasich is slightly trailing Trump 33 percent to 30 percent, and Cruz is third with 20 percent. Last week, the Ohioan came away with roughly $300,000 at a fund-raising event in Philadelphia hosted by businessman Andrew Lewis, son of the late Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis.

Kasich has so far only won one primary — that in his home state of Ohio). But he also let me know last Friday that his campaign’s “definition of success is winning delegates.” Kasich will continue to compete for delegates and try to boost his present group of 142 committed delegates.

For Kasich’s strategy to work, the Rules Committee of the Republican National Committee must first repeal the party’s controversial Rule 40-b. Passed on voice vote at the national convention in 2012, 40-b states that for a candidate to be placed in nomination for president, he or she must have the support of a majority of delegates from eight states.

Enacted at the 2012 convention when Mitt Romney’s political team signaled it did not want Ron Paul‘s name to be placed in nomination, 40-b now keeps Kasich’s name from being placed in nomination. The Rules Committee are considering its repeal at its next meeting in Hollywood, Florida April 20-23.

Last week, Cruz told me repeal of 40-b at this late date was “ludicrous.” Virginia’s GOP National Committeeman and RNC Rules Committee member Morton Blackwell, an expert on party rules as well as a Cruz supporter, fought the controversial rules change in ’12 and tried to secure its repeal at an RNC meeting earlier this year but was thwarted.

But Blackwell told me he will now oppose any attempts to scrap 40-B on the grounds that the party “establishment” is only abandoning the rule as the two front-runners for nomination are both “anti-establishment” candidates.

Most RNC observers I spoke to, however, believe there are enough votes on the 56-member Rules Committee to ensure the scrapping of 40-b—and the opening for Kasich to be placed in nomination.

After Wisconsin, the race for the Republican nomination for president is no less clear than it was before. But it seems safe to say that the chances on a “contested convention” went from “likely” to “almost certain.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
 

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Polls still give Trump healthy leads in New York and New Jersey, which will hold primaries April 19 and June 7 respectively, there are beginning to be doubts over whether he will sweep the delegates there.
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2016-11-06
Wednesday, 06 Apr 2016 11:11 AM
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