On Thursday Donald Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention.
“Leadership is leadership. If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine,” said Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and an unbound delegate.
Trump now has 1,238 delegates. The number effectively blocks the threat of a contest convention floated earlier by his political rivals and anti-Trump Republicans in the party.
Just over 300 delegates are at stake in five state primaries on June 7.
Trump’s over the top delegate count foils a largely symbolic effort by former contender John Kasich. On Monday, the Ohio governor sent letters to officials in the 16 states where he won delegates saying that he wants his delegates to remain bound to him. Fellow contender Marco Rubio has not released his delegates, either. Kasich and Rubio appear committed to a symbolic “anti-endorsement” of Trump by hanging on to the delegates.
Ted Cruz has 568 delegates. He is holding them in the hope of wielding influence over the party platform in Cleveland.
“I encourage all delegates who supported my campaign—and who support a constitutional conservative agenda that will grow jobs, protect our freedoms, and ensure our security—to actively participate in shaping the Party platform and rules in a manner that will ensure our cause is advanced,” a letter Cruz wrote to Kansas Republican Party Chair Kelly Arnold states.
Trump’s delegate count, however, puts Cruz’s effort to shape the convention in serious doubt.
Clinching the nomination has come as a surprise to the establishment, especially prior to primary votes in the two largest remaining states, California and New Jersey.
“It’s an outcome that a little over a month ago would have seemed completely impossible, but a string of big wins combined with his remaining competitors leaving the field prompted a tsunami of delegates to fall into place in short order,” The Washington Post notes.