Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s convention manager is predicting Sen. Ted Cruz, Mr. Trump’s top 2016 GOP rival, will not have a great showing in the remaining GOP contests in April.
“April is going to be a very bad month for Ted Cruz,” Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s convention manager, said on Fox News’ “Hannity” in an interview that aired Tuesday evening. “He’ll probably finish third in delegates in April.”
Mr. Cruz won the Wisconsin primary on April 5 and picked up additional delegates at a state convention in Colorado over the weekend.
But he’s well back of Mr. Trump in public polling on the April 19 primary in New York, where 95 delegates are up for grabs and where Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been in second place in some of the recent polls.
“We’re out of Cruz land,” Mr. Manafort said. “Cruz is not even going to be finishing second for the next couple of weeks. He’s going to be distant thirds in a lot of places.”
Mr. Trump has also led in recent polling on Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut, which vote on April 26 along with Delaware and Rhode Island.
Mr. Cruz did win the Maine caucuses, but Mr. Trump picked up wins in the Northeastern states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont, and most of Mr. Cruz’s wins have come in Western or Midwestern states like Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.
GOP Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, a Cruz supporter, said Wednesday it’s not exactly news that Mr. Trump is shaping up to do well in a state like New York.
“It’s obvious that Donald Trump is going to win New York,” Mr. Labrador said on MSNBC. “You guys didn’t make a big deal when Ted Cruz won Texas, which he should have won, and I think Donald Trump should win New York. This is his state.”
“But the question is how well will Ted Cruz do in all of these states?” he said. “And you will see that because of their organization, [because] the things that they’re doing, they’re going to perform better than the polls are showing right now.
“There is going to be a coalescence around Ted Cruz in some of these other states,” Mr. Labrador said. Then you’re going to go to Indiana, you’re going to go to California — you’re going to see these states where Ted Cruz is going to overperform, and I think that’s what you’re [going to] see, that the Republican party is coalescing around one guy.”
Mr. Manafort has predicted that Mr. Trump will reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the July GOP convention in Cleveland.
“June 7 is going to put us over, but we’re not going to have to win overwhelmingly on June 7,” he said. “California is going to be a battleground.”
California, where 172 delegates are at stake, votes June 7 along with several other states.
Mr. Cruz campaigned in California this week, and Mr. Trump on Tuesday announced that GOP strategist Tim Clark will direct the Trump campaign’s efforts in the state.
“The whole premise of the Cruz campaign of a second ballot misses the point,” Mr. Manafort said. “There’s not going to be a second ballot.”