- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2016


Donald Trump can lose Ohio to John Kasich on Tuesday and still have a 1,242-delegate majority going into the Republican National Convention in July or, at worst, wind up 142 delegates short, according to the latest state-by-state delegate allocation analysis by The Washington Times.

It is doubtful that the Republican establishment, despite plotting over the past month on how to deny Mr. Trump the nomination, will attempt to take it away from him if he is only 142 delegates short of the 1,237-delegate majority required for nomination, said Republican National Committee counsel James Bopp Jr. and former RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan implied during a video-recorded strategy session with other anti-Trump Republican wheelers and dealers that the enthusiasm for blocking Mr. Trump at any cost is withering among some establishment leaders.

Asked whether he is sure Mr. Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton, Mr. Duncan said, “No, but it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. If we get off into splitting our party, we can’t put it back together. Humpty Dumpty won’t come back together.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is running second to Mr. Trump in delegates won in primaries and caucuses and shows no signs of leaving the race anytime soon. Many Republicans see Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as close to suspending his campaign if he doesn’t win his home state and its 99-delegate haul in Tuesday’s winner-takes-all primary.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich runs even or slightly ahead of Mr. Trump in polls of Ohio voters. A Kasich loss in his own state, where he enjoys a 65 percent approval rating, would put intense pressure on him to drop out.

Whether Mr. Trump goes to Cleveland only 142 delegates short of a majority also could depend on a single state with a 172-delegate gold mine at the end, said delegate-allocation analyst Jim Ellis, explaining that “it will largely come down to California,” one of five states to vote on the last primary date, June 7.

The state has, in effect, 54 primaries on that date, with the candidate who wins the most votes in each of the 53 congressional districts getting all three of that district’s delegates. A further 10 “at large” delegates go to the overall winner of the state. The other three delegates are unpledged, officials with the state party and the Republican National Committee.

“For a brokered convention with nobody having 1,237 on the first ballot, not only do Trump’s rivals all have to stay in the race, but Rubio needs to perform well in Los Angeles for the ‘broker’ to happen,” Mr. Ellis said.

Mr. Pullen, like other Republican convention veterans, is all but convinced that Mr. Rubio “will be finished after March 22,” when Arizona is expected to award all of its 58 delegates to Mr. Trump. For that reason, one version of the latest Washington Times analysis leaves Mr. Rubio out of the equation after March 22.

“Based on everything I can see, when Rubio drops out, his voters will get split up, with Trump getting a majority,” Mr. Pullen said. “The idea that somehow they will go to Ted Cruz is about as incorrect as Jeb Bush’s voters going to Rubio.”

Mr. Pullen sees Mr. Kasich as “hanging in to the end, but not a factor.”

It now seems clear that only Mr. Trump and probably Mr. Cruz will meet a controversial 2012 requirement, known as Rule 40b, that says a candidate must win a majority of the delegates in eight states even to have his name put in nomination and thus be eligible to be voted on. Therefore, the convention will be a two-man contest unless Mr. Trump wins a delegate majority before the convention.

The idea that Mr. Rubio or Mr. Kasich will get their names on the ballot seems more a wish on the establishment’s part than a likelihood, RNC Rules Committee counsel Jim Bopp Jr. said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Kasich is expected to come to Arizona on Wednesday to seek financial support from Mr. Rubio’s donors in the state — assuming the senator does suspend his campaign after the anticipated Florida loss.

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