Ted Cruz's Wisconsin win is just be the opening bid in a two-week period where the presidential contender stands to sweep all before him. By the time the New York primary is held on April 19, his delegate total will probably be about even with Donald Trump’s, if you assume that Marco Rubio’s 171 delegates will eventually back the Texas senator.
Here’s the deal:
North Dakota held its convention this past weekend and indications are that all 28 delegates will be pro-Cruz, though that state’s delegates are free to vote for anyone.
Colorado holds its convention on April 8 and 9. At stake is a treasure trove of 37 delegates, who are also free to vote for any candidate on the first or other ballots at the party’s national nominating convention in July. Cruz operatives have been combing the state and are likely to win all or most of the 37.
Then comes Wyoming, which still has 17 at-large delegates to be selected after Cruz got nine of the 12 allocated at county conventions in March. Cruz is likely to pick up almost all of them.
Added together with Wisconsin’s 42 delegates, this list comes to 124 delegates. With Cruz likely to win most or all of them, his delegate total would rise from its current 463 to 587 if he were to get them all. Add in Rubio’s 171 and Cruz would be at 758 more than Trump’s current 736.
Now, Trump will win New York’s April 19 primary, but will he get over 50 percent? If he does get a majority statewide and in each of the 27 congressional districts, he will sweep all 95 delegates. But if Cruz and John Kasich can hold him below that threshold, one delegate from each district will go to the second-place finisher. And, if Trump misses a statewide majority, New York’s 11 at-large delegates have to be split proportionately.
Two weeks ago, an Emerson poll found Trump winning with 64 percent of the vote in New York, but the latest Quinnipiac survey shows him down to 56 percent, with Cruz at 20 and Kasich at 19. Should that trend continue, there is a fair chance that statewide and in at least some congressional districts, The Donald will have to share his delegates.
Trump also leads in Pennsylvania 71 delegates but only narrowly. In the most recent Franklin and Marshall survey, Trump clung to a narrow lead, at 33 percent, with Kasich at 30 percent and Cruz at 20 percent. Fifty-four of Pennsylvania’s delegates, however, are not bound by the primary’s results and can vote as they please.
Cruz is only 1 point behind Trump in California, slated for a June 7 primary. Its 172 delegates are selected on what is basically a winner-take-all basis: Whoever gets the plurality in each district and statewide wins all the delegates. If Cruz continues to improve his national standing and Trump’s continues to erode Cruz’s gains in California might cancel out his expected losses in New York and Pennsylvania.
Elsewhere, Trump seems headed to prevail in Delaware (16 delegates), Maryland (38), Rhode Island (19), West Virginia (34), New Jersey (51) and Washington state (44).
Cruz holds the edge in Indiana (57), Nebraska (36), Oregon (28), Montana (27) and South Dakota (29).
All things considered, it now appears that Cruz will come within a few hundred votes of Trump at the convention, a gap that could be made up by Rubio’s delegates. Neither candidate would have a majority, and Trump would have only a slight lead perhaps Cruz and Rubio at 42 percent, Trump at 44 percent and Kasich at 14 percent.
And Cruz is much better-prepared than Trump to do well on the second ballot.