The endgame of the 2016 primary campaign looms out west in California, the final big state on which the remaining presidential candidates are pinning their hopes. But to get there, they’ll first have to make it through Indiana, where things aren’t looking so good for Ted Cruz. The Texas senator is pretty nearly finished if he cannot beat Donald Trump in the winner-take-all Hoosier state, whose delegates could easily set the Republican front-runner on a glide path to clinch the nomination. Cruz has been talking confidently about winning Indiana and ultimately denying Trump the delegates he needs to win a majority, triggering a contested convention. “At this point, no one is getting to 1,237. I’m not getting to 1,237 before the convention, but neither is Donald Trump,” Cruz said this weekend in California. But internally, his team is reportedly beginning to worry that its candidate is just one loss away from defeat.
According to several staffers who spoke to Politico, Cruz is nervous about the outcome of Indiana, where Trump has a significant lead. (The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, released Sunday, has Trump a whole 15 points ahead of Cruz.) One senior aide said that while the campaign hadn’t discussed dropping out before the final round of primaries, which includes California, on June 7, Cruz wouldn’t be likely to stay in if there was no longer any chance for him to win. “A Cruz loss in Indiana means lights out,”Scott Reed, the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Politico. “Game, set, match.”
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