April 29, 2016 — The 2016 presidential campaign has taken a dramatic turn in a very short amount of time. Is the race reaching its end, or will we see yet another twist?
Before last week’s New York primary, Donald Trump was reeling, clearly experiencing the most significant momentum downturn since his campaign began. Then came the primary, and he exceeded his pre-determined delegate goal, thus righting the ship. In this week’s eastern regional primary, the real estate mogul performed in similar fashion and even topped his New York finish. Now, it is Sen. Ted Cruz who is suddenly facing elimination as the Indiana primary quickly approaches next Tuesday. For Trump to remain on his first-ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the 57 Indiana Republican delegates.
According to The Green Papers.com website that compiles political statistics, Trump has a first-ballot delegate count of 956, which tells us he is 281 away from winning the nomination. This means that the GOP front-runner must obtain 56 percent of the remaining 502 delegates from the 10 states yet to vote. Trump is the only candidate who can qualify for a first-ballot victory and do so without the aid of unbound delegates. Sen. Cruz and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) can now only band together in hopes of denying Trump the outright majority in order to force a contested convention.
Now it is Sen. Cruz who desperately needs a win. Since his new goal is to deny Trump as many delegates as possible, any sizeable Indiana victory will blunt his opponent’s momentum and stop the march toward a first ballot nomination. Gov. Kasich’s decision to not campaign there will help, but there will have to be a sizable push from the Ohio governor to encourage his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz. With a series of recent polls finding Cruz trailing Trump from five to eight points, the Kasich push is a critical component for the Texas senator to move into first place. Failure to win Indiana may prove fatal to Sen. Cruz’s 2016 presidential aspirations.
April 28, 2016 — Indiana now becomes critical for Donald Trump. Originally projected as a victory state for Sen. Ted Cruz, this winner-take-all by congressional district Hoosier State is now leaning toward Trump. Three polls, all conducted between April 18-22 from three different pollsters (Public Opinion Strategies, Fox News, and CBS/YouGov) find Trump topping Cruz in each instance, but the spreads are tight.
The Trump range is between 41 and 37 percent in the three polls, while Cruz attracts between 31-35 percent. Gov. John Kasich is significant in each survey, placing third with support figures in the 16-22 percent realm. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now working with Cruz to deny Trump a victory, says he will step away from Indiana in order to give the Texas senator a better shot, could give Cruz the needed boost he needs to slip past Trump.
Indiana is unique in that its at-large delegate contingent is equal to those coming from the congressional districts (27). Indiana has 57 Republican delegates, 27 at-large and 27 from the nine congressional districts (three apiece) in addition to the state’s three Republican National Committee convention votes. The three Republican National Committee delegates are unbound. It appears certain that next Tuesday, Indiana will set the tone for the final stretch in this marathon nomination campaign.
The statewide winner takes the at-large base, and the respective congressional district delegates are awarded to the first-place finisher in each individual CD. For Trump to remain on his first ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the Indiana contingent.
April 22, 2016 — Donald Trump’s major New York Republican primary win on Tuesday (he captured 90 of the state’s 95 delegates, exceeding expectations by at least 10 convention votes) revives talk of a first ballot victory, but is such speculation realistic?
The evening propelled Trump to 847 bound delegates, or 390 away from clinching the GOP presidential nomination. In the remaining 15 states that will complete the primary/caucus process, the Republican front-runner must secure 57 percent of the outstanding convention votes in order to score a first-ballot victory without the aid of unbound delegates.
On April 26, voters in five eastern states will visit the polls. The aggregate bound delegate contingent hailing from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island through their various apportionment systems is 112. The minimum combined number Trump must secure is 92 from these states.
His 83 percent available delegate quota from the eastern pool is high for two reasons. First, he is heavily favored in all five states headed into Election Day. Second, he must run up the score in the east to neutralize at least three states where he likely won’t do well: Indiana (May 3), Nebraska (May 10) and South Dakota (June 7). Since Nebraska and South Dakota are Winner-Take-All states, it is probable that Trump will be shut out in both places.
April 21, 2016 — There is no doubt that Republicans are headed for a major convention rules fight the week before their national conclave begins, and it appears the brawl is already underway.
Controversy is arising over a proposed rule change to ditch the US House rules that have governed the national convention for decades in favor of Robert’s Rules of Order, which would give more control to the 2,472 individual delegates by allowing them to raise objections and points of order. US House rules give the convention chairman — at this point House Speaker Paul Ryan acting on behalf of the party leaders — the power to deny such motions. RNC Oregon National Committeeman Solomon Yue is officially bringing the idea for rules committee consideration as the panel prepares to meet at the Republican National Committee spring meeting next week in Florida.
Already personalities are clashing as Yue and rules committee chairman Bruce Ash (RNC Arizona committeeman) are accusing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus of stonewalling the measure in order to prevent a full rules committee vote. Priebus and RNC legal counsel John Ryder, the Tennessee national committeeman, claim not referring the proposal to the committee was merely an oversight.
By Jim Ellis
April 20, 2016 — Donald Trump exceeded expectations last night in New York by capturing what appears to be 90 of the Empire State’s 95 delegates. Needing to score approximately 80 delegates to get back on track for a long-shot first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump did significantly better in his home state than pre-election projections foretold.
Trump garnered 60.5 percent of the statewide vote, making this the first time he has scored a majority in a primary. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) was second with 25.1 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz could manage only a 14.5 percent vote total.
Ironically, the only one of the 62 counties Trump failed to carry was New York County, or Manhattan Borough, which is his home. Gov. Kasich took Manhattan, and won the remaining five NY delegates.
April 19, 2016 — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) scored another victory in a Republican state convention system that features no direct voting. Like North Dakota and Colorado, Wyoming has historically chosen its delegates through the state convention process, and did so again over the weekend.
Earlier in the process, county caucuses chose 12 of the state’s 29 national convention votes. On Saturday, the state convention delegates elected the remaining 14 national delegates. The final three are the Republican National Committee members: the state GOP chairman, the national committeeman, and national committeewoman.
The end result is 23 delegates for Sen. Cruz versus one for national front-runner, Donald Trump. The others remain uncommitted or attached to other candidates. But, Wyoming is one of the unbound delegations, meaning the members can still change their votes unless subsequent party directives and rules enforce pledged loyalty.
According to the GreenPapers.com political information website, Trump now leads Cruz 758-558 in the national delegate count. This means Trump needs another 479 votes to clinch the nomination. To win on the first ballot, Trump would have to claim just over 62 percent of the outstanding 769 Republican delegates.
April 18, 2016 — In anticipation of the April 26 primary, the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey research conglomeration studied (April 5-9; 775 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters, 368 likely Maryland primary voters) the Maryland electorate and found the seesaw Senate Democratic primary continuing to change.
These latest results find Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County) again taking a lead over fellow Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County), this time a 44-38 percent margin on the most recent ballot test. Last week, the Washington Post and University of Maryland released their own poll posting Edwards to a 44-40 percent advantage. The race will continue to be very close all the way to primary Election Day. The eventual Democratic nominee will succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) in a state where Republicans have little chance of winning a statewide federal contest.
On the presidential front, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a wide 58-36 percent advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). Clinton needs only 30 percent of the remaining delegates to capture the Democratic national prize. The Free State has 118 Democratic delegates. With victories in New York (291 delegates) next Tuesday, and Maryland on the 26th, Clinton will be knocking on national victory’s door.