Delegate Count In Republican Primary Almost Guarantees Cleveland Fight

The delegate count in the Republican primary has gotten close enough that an open convention in Cleveland this summer is almost a guarantee. The delegate count was once considered something Donald Trump had sewn up, but missteps on the campaign trail have finally started catching up with the frontrunner. Ted Cruz and John Kasich have both been able to add to their own delegate counts and close what was once a seemingly insurmountable gap.

Associated Press is reporting Donald Trump’s delegate count is still plenty strong when it comes to him claiming he should be the nominee for the GOP, but his primary loss in Wisconsin to Ted Cruz means Trump isn’t gathering up delegates quick enough to guarantee he’s going to come out of Cleveland as the undisputed presidential candidate. The real wild card could be just how much momentum John Kasich could pick up considering the Republican convention is taking place right in his back yard. The Ohio governor might be third in the delegate count but he’s going to have home field advantage when the festivities kick off on July 18.

Delegate county for Kasich
It’s true that Donald Trump is the only one that has a path where he could actually get the needed delegate count before Cleveland kicks off. There are still several months and several primaries he can use to kick up his delegate count even more. The problem for him and his supporters is that the movement that saw him become the favorite is losing some steam in recent weeks. While Bernie Sanders stole the show in Wisconsin, beating Hilary Clinton by 13 points on the Democratic side, Ted Cruz mirrored that performance on the Republican side.

Wisconsin Vote shows that John Kasich isn’t helping himself in the delegate count either, considering he could have had a better showing in Big Ten country. Instead, he finished a distant third, gathering just 14 percent of the vote while Ted Cruz got 48 percent and Donald Trump registered 35 percent. In order to lock up a GOP nomination, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, or even John Kasich need to get a delegate count of 1,237. That’s one more than exactly half of all the delegates out there.

Delegate count for Trump
When looking at the count now, Donald Trump has a lead of more than 200 over Cruz. Trump’s also got his home state of New York and its 95 delegates next on the primary slate. The state could be a big win for the businessman. Trump’s home state is proportional, instead of winner take all. Cruz just needs to stay within shouting distance of the delegate count gap. After Gotham’s GOP primary, there’s a steady run of Northeastern states holding their own votes on April 26.

Just three of the next seven Republican primaries are winner take all, which further muddies a field that is already operating under the “fog of war.” All of the candidates seem to think they have the momentum and it’s hard to see anyone who has really grabbed the race and made it theirs. Because Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have both been gathering up delegates, the count has gotten closer, but the total delegate count doesn’t actually seem to be moving in any specific direction. There isn’t an unbeatable force in this race anymore but it isn’t clear whether anyone can get the delegate count to actually take the crown away from Trump. Those who are hoping that Trump won’t get the delegate count needed to clinch the nomination before Cleveland are forgetting one thing. There’s no guarantee an open convention won’t still see The Donald get the delegate count he needs to become the nominee for November.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]