By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2016 — Speculation as to whether the Republicans would host their first contested, or brokered, presidential nominating convention since the 1940s ended when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suspended his presidential campaign after a bruising loss in Indiana.
Though the party nomination is still not officially, mathematically clinched, and won’t be for some time, Cruz’s departure followed a day later by Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) as an active candidate, leaves Donald Trump a solid month to campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, boxing her in from the right while she must continue to court her party’s left base in order to become the nominee while the Democratic race still is ongoing. It will be an important period for Trump, since he will have a distinct short-term strategic advantage.
Indiana, as Trump has been saying since his major victory in the eastern regional primary April 26, proved to be definitive. The new unofficial nominee racked up a 53-37-7 percent victory over Cruz and Kasich, and possibly scored a backdoor winner-take-all result with a sweep of the statewide vote and possibly all nine Indiana congressional districts.
The CDs, which produce three delegates apiece for the candidate placing first in the particular domain, are going at least eight strong for Trump. The 3rd District (Rep. Marlin Stutzman-R) was not fully reported at this writing and Trump led Sen. Cruz here by only 926 votes. If he holds the 3rd, Trump will have secured a winner-take-all 57 delegates, far beyond the 39 he needed to establish a first ballot track.