Ted Cruz: Delegate Battle for Nomination Now a Two-Man Race

Ted Cruz at Houston Rally 3-15-16
Photo: Breitbart Texas/Bob Price

HOUSTON, Texas — Republican candidate and Texas Ted Cruz told supporters in Houston this is now a tw0-man race for the nomination. The senator began the day of this major primary just 90 delegates behind GOP front-runner Donald Trump. After Tuesday night, he found himself with an estimated 36 of the 301 delegates at stake on election day.

The delegate numbers provided after Tuesday’s election by Real Clear Politics above do not reflect the allocation of congressional district delegates in Missouri and Illinois which have yet to be reported.

Going into Tuesday’s election, Cruz had 370 delegates and Trump had 469 delegates, according to Real Clear Politics. Marco Rubio had 163 delegates and Governor John Kasich had 63. A total of 1,237 delegates are required to win the nomination outright.

The most delegates up for grab were from the states of Ohio and Florida, 99 and 66 respectively for a total of 165. 193 delegates were available from Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina. The islands of Northern Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, had nine delegates.

Ohio and Florida are winner-take-all states and Kasich and Trump secured those delegates.

Governor John Kasich won outright in Ohio and took all 66 delegates. This state is also an open primary. This victory by Kasich deprives Trump of 66 delegates that could prove crucial if he has yet to secure a majority of the delegates by the time of the convention.

At stake in the Florida winner-take-all state were 99 delegates. Florida was the only closed primary state where only registered Republican voters are allowed to vote. Trump won the state with a double-digit lead over the Florida senator. Shortly after the results were called, Rubio announced the suspension of his campaign.

The U.S. territory, Northern Marianas, also had a winner-take-all primary with nine delegates available. The territory awarded its delegates to Trump who won 73 percent of the vote. The election was accomplished with a closed Republican caucus.

By winning Florida, Trump now has a pathway to winning the nomination without a contested convention, but it is not certain. Kasich’s win in Ohio could loom large as the race comes down to the wire.

The Missouri and Illinois delegates are awarded in a combination of at-large and congressional district delegates.

Missouri is a winner-take-all state, based on statewide and congressional district delegates, with 52 delegates. It too is an open primary. Currently, only the fifteen statewide delegates have been awarded to Donald Trump. The remainder have yet to be announced.

Breitbart Texas spoke with former Missouri Lt. Governor Bill Phelps Tuesday night in Houston. He explained his state’s system. “Missouri awards twelve delegates based on the state-wide results. Each congressional district gets five delegates and we have eight districts.”

Phelps also said that two of the districts in Missouri are Democratic and six are Republican. He told Breitbart Texas, “I would expect that Trump will win the two Democrat districts, but if Cruz wins the six Republican districts, he could emerge with more total delegates than Trump — 30-22.” Real Clear Politics reported that Missouri has awarded fifteen delegates to Trump. It is not clear how that number was calculated.

Illinois, an open primary, had 69 delegates. Illinois is a winner-take-all state based on a combination of statewide and congressional district delegates. Currently 62 delegates have been awarded to Trump, according to Real Clear Politics. Trump received 49 delegates, Cruz received nine, and Kasich received four. The remainder have yet to be announced.

A Cruz campaign staffer explained the Illinois system which is even more complicated. He explained that in Illinois, the delegates are directly elected on the ballot by name, not by the candidate they support. He said it is possible that even if a congressional district votes for one candidate, a different candidate might get the delegates because his supporter was elected instead of the other candidate.

North Carolina, also open, had 72 delegates available in this proportional election contest. In North Carolina, Cruz received only two less delegates than did the first place finisher, Donald Trump. Twenty-nine delegates were awarded to Trump, 27 to Cruz, nine to Kasich, and six to Rubio who has now suspended his campaign.

Cruz still does not have the direct head-to-head race with Trump he has been hoping for. As Kasich remains in the race, a split of the non-Trump voters could make it easier for the New York businessman to win the winner-take-all states that make up most of the remainder of states.

Breitbart New’s Mike Flynn wrote on Tuesday, “While Trump could very well enter the Republican convention with the most delegates, he may be short of the minimum number needed to secure the nomination outright. In that situation, the majority of delegates will be pledged to someone other than Trump. One can easily imagine a scenario where the three candidates with the bulk of delegates negotiate a deal among themselves to nominate someone other than Trump.”

“Trump can avoid this scenario by expanding his support,” he wrote. “Despite his dominance in the polls, he is still leading simply because the opposition remains divided. In his best states, he is still winning the support of around 40-45 percent of Republicans. It can still be argued, then, that a majority of Republicans don’t support Trump. Winning some states with a majority of the vote would go a long way to achieve the consolidation in support that Trump now seeks.”

Flynn concluded, “While many in the media and in the Trump orbit would like to argue that the nomination race is nearing its end, that is far from the case. It won’t begin to be the end until Trump can begin to win some primaries with a majority. No Republican nominee in recent memory has gone so deep into the nominating contests without securing such a victory. Trump needs to grow his support soon.”

Breitbart News reported that former Speaker of the House John Boehner says he has endorsed current Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan for president and will support him if no Republican candidate achieves a majority on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July. Politico reports that Boehner said, “If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above. They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”

As reported by Breitbart Texas, Boehner called freshman Senator Cruz “Lucifer” after announcing his endorsement of Ryan.

Ryan has not ruled out accepting a nomination. As reported by Breitbart News, on election night, Ryan suggested that he is open to seeking the Republican presidential nomination during a contested convention in Cleveland.

Even if Trump wins the necessary delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination contest, at issue among pachyderms is whether they can unify behind Trump and vote for him if he is the Republican Party presidential nominee.

The day after the election, Reverend Franklin Graham was reported by CBN to encourage evangelical Christians to vote no matter which candidates are nominated. He said, “And I’m not going to tell people who to vote for, I’m not going to do that — let God tell you who to vote for,” he said. “You may have to hold your nose, you may have to decide with is the least heathen of the two heathen.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter@BobPriceBBTX.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.