After a forceful win in New York, Donald Trump has a narrow but real path to 1,237 delegates, the number required to avoid a contested convention.
He needs about 390 more delegates to become the Republican presidential nominee. Here’s one way he could get them.
Pick Up 185 in the Industrial East
Mr. Trump is a big favorite in the remaining states of the industrial East, from West Virginia to Rhode Island, so he could garner a commanding haul here. Mr. Trump will probably fall a bit short in places — perhaps yield a district or two in Maryland, or lose ground because of the complicated rules in West Virginia. But he might still come away with around 185 of these delegates, covering nearly half of the remaining distance to 1,237.
Gather 34 in the West and Midwest
Mr. Trump is not particularly popular out in the Mountain West and Plains. Ted Cruz is favored in winner-take-all contests in South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska. But Mr. Trump might still emerge with delegates from Washington, Oregon and New Mexico, which award their delegates proportionally. He might win 34 of these delegates, even if he loses.
Win 130 in California
To cover most of the rest of the distance to 1,237, Mr. Trump will need a big win in the nation’s largest prize: California, worth 172 delegates. It’s not out of the question. The polls show Mr. Trump with a consistent but modest lead of around seven percentage points, and he fared well in neighboring Nevada and Arizona. Even a narrow win could be enough to give Mr. Trump a huge haul of around 130 delegates, since the state awards its delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district. It would leave him just short of the nomination.
Get Over the Top
The final few delegates aren’t easy for Mr. Trump. He has a few options:
â– Win Indiana. It would probably be worth at least 42 delegates and as many as 57, enough to put him over the top if everything went his way. There’s reason to think Indiana is promising for Mr. Cruz, but the state is something of a mystery. There hasn’t been a single poll there this year.
â– Squeeze out every delegate he can from the coasts. Mr. Trump could claim additional delegates from California or the Northeast beyond what was assumed above. A near sweep of the Northeast and California could get him over the top, even without any help from Indiana.
â– An upset. Mr. Trump could squeak out a win in a state where he’s thought to be an underdog, like Montana. It’s not likely — that’s why he’s an underdog. But it’s not impossible.
â– Win Pennsylvania’s unpledged delegates. If all else fails, Mr. Trump could still win it at the convention with the unbound delegates from Pennsylvania. Here, voters directly elect 54 of the 71 delegates, but they aren’t bound to any candidate.
Some of these delegates have pledged to support the winner, either statewide or by district. Other delegates have pledged to support specific candidates.
Polls suggest the state’s voters are poised to vote for Mr. Trump. If they elect delegates who follow their lead, Mr. Trump would probably clear 1,237.