The New York primary on Tuesday begins a seven-week dash to the final state primaries in the Republican nomination process.
Donald Trump currently has a very narrow and obstacle-strewn path to secure 1,237 delegates before the RNC convention in July. A big win in the Empire State could give Trump enough momentum to reach that total.
A Trump win in his home state of New York isn’t in doubt. All polling has shown him with big leads over his two remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. The only question is whether Trump will hit the 50 percent majority support he needs to sweep most of the state’s 95 delegates.
The current RealClearPolitics average of polls finds Trump leading New York with 53 percent support, just above the threshold necessary to claim all 14 of the state’s at-large delegates. Polls in the past week have shown his support between 49-57 percent of state Republicans. New York is a closed primary, open only to voters who were registered with the Republican party in October.
More important than statewide totals, however, is Trump’s performance in the state’s 27 congressional districts. Three delegates are awarded in each district, with a candidate claiming all three delegates if they win the district with more than 50 percent of the vote. If a candidate wins the district, but falls short of the majority, that candidate receives two delegates and the runner-up receives one delegate.
In all, 81 delegates are awarded through the Empire State’s 27 congressional districts. Trump is expected to win most of the available delegates.
Small differences in the vote in particular regions, however, could have a big impact on Trump’s overall delegate haul.
Particular attention should be paid to the congressional districts within New York City. Trump polls very strongly in the city, but Republican turnout in these districts is very small. To this point, the Trump campaign has not had a very robust ground game to drive voter turnout. In each of these districts, a few hundred votes could mean the difference between Trump collecting all three delegates or just two.
That said, Trump is the strong favorite to collect most of the state’s delegates.
Fox News pundit Karl Rove recently predicted that Trump would win 80-90 delegates out of the 95 total. Late last week, Carl Paladino, Chair of the Trump campaign in New York, predicted the GOP frontrunner would sweep all 95 delegates in the state.
Such a haul would help Trump in his quest to secure the necessary delegates before the RNC convention in Cleveland, but it wouldn’t guarantee it.
A Breitbart News analysis of the remaining states estimated that Trump would win 75 of the available delegates in New York, or roughly 80 percent of the total. In that scenario, however, Trump would likely fall around 75 delegates short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot.
However, that New York victory could provide a needed boost of momentum in several upcoming states.
A week after New York, a handful of states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast go to the polls. Likely, Trump will do well in these states before the primaries move to the Midwest and West, where Cruz has been formidable.
Trump’s campaign is responding to the changing dynamics of the final primary season. A shake-up of senior staff on the Trump campaign has put convention manager Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley, former campaign manager for Scott Walker, firmly in charge of the remaining primary contests.
The campaign has reportedly authorized spending $20 million in May, a considerable increase in its spending. A great deal of this will be devoted to paid advertising in California, a strategy the Trump campaign had previously avoided.
Trump will have to execute another big primary win on June 7, the last day of voting. California is the biggest prize that day, awarding 172 delegates, almost all through the state’s 53 congressional districts.
Whether or not Trump secures the necessary delegates could very well come down to a dozen districts in California. He may very well need all of that $20 million, and more, to lock-down the nomination ahead of the convention in Cleveland.
The Trump campaign has already tweaked its operations ahead of the New York primary. A rush of new hires, a juggling of responsibilities, and a big cash infusion signal a new kind of Trump campaign for the final seven-week sprint. Trump has also exuded a messaging discipline that wasn’t seen last month, or, even, any other time during the campaign season.
A big win on Tuesday in his home state could restart talk about the inevitablity of his winning the nomination. A campaign reboot, clearly under way, will help that talk take root.