Inching Closer To
A Contested Convention

By Jim Ellis

March 16, 2016
— Last night, the major step toward the Republicans ending in a contested, or brokered, convention occurred. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won his home state, claiming its 66 Winner-Take-All delegates.

Though Donald Trump had a strong night, placing first in the other four states and carrying the Northern Marianas’ Winner-Take-All territorial caucus the day before (nine delegates), he still has a difficult task to commit the majority of Republican delegates before the Republican National Convention begins on July 18.

At this point, the votes of 1,489 Republican delegates are either committed to a candidate or will go to the convention as unbound. This means 983 delegates remain. Of the 983 delegate votes, 152 would be unbound according to individual state party rule; hence, they become the Republican version of “Super Delegates”. The remaining 831 will be committed, or bound, votes.

To win the nomination, Trump must secure 57.3 percent of the remaining delegates. But, to officially clinch the nomination before the convention, he would need 67.7 percent of the bound delegates. Both percentages may be out of reach, considering he has committed just 45.3 percent of the available votes to this point. Now with only two opponents remaining, his take of the available delegate pool will naturally grow – but to what extent?

The key becomes Gov. Kasich’s performance. Though neither he nor Sen. Ted Cruz can reach the majority mark themselves, the two can certainly force the contested convention.

Sen. Cruz’s contention that he can beat Trump one-on-one if the others – and now just Kasich, since Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign after the Florida result last night – drop out may not be accurate.

The remaining states, centered largely in the northeast with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland still yet to vote, favor Trump, but to what degree is yet unknown. And, California, with the largest delegate contingent (172) that will vote in a Winner-Take-All by congressional district format on June 7, may well play the deciding role.


Donald Trump 674
Ted Cruz 413
Marco Rubio 172 (out)
John Kasich 146
Others 15
Uncommitted 26
Needed to win: 1,237 Remaining: 983

Delegate Count Source: The Green Papers website

Note: this count includes some unbound delegates who have announced their preference. Therefore, these individuals can still change their vote up until the first convention roll call. Approximately 78 delegates are in this category.


Hillary Clinton had a big night yesterday, placing first in all five states and potentially delivering the political knockout blow that she’s needed. Counting the announced Super Delegates, her lead is becoming insurmountable.

Hillary Clinton 1,094 467
Bernie Sanders 774 26

Total Clinton: 1,561
Total Sanders: 800
Needed to win: 2,383

Delegate Count Source: Unofficial – New York Times
Note: approximately 336 Super Delegates from the states that have now voted remain uncommitted

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