HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday that his rivals for the party’s nomination are “limping” their way to the convention in Cleveland and dismissed talk about multiple rounds of balloting at the convention.
“They have no way. The only thing they can hope is we don’t get it on the first ballot,” the billionaire businessman told those attending a rally in western Maryland. “I’m only interested in the first ballot. I’m not interested in second, third, fourth, nineteenth, because I’m really interested in winning it early. That’s it.”
Trump is trying to get 1,237 delegate through primary and caucus wins to secure the nomination. Without the requisite number, delegates will vote at the convention on the first ballot for the delegate to whom they are bound. However, they are essentially free to support another candidates in ensuing rounds of balloting.
Trump thinks that his big New York primary win last week and project success in remaining states races — including the five in Northeast states Tuesday and California in early June — will give him the 1,237 delegate and eliminate the possibility of multiple balloting.
Rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sees the situation differently.
“There are only two people with any plausible path to win the Republican nomination — me and Trump”, he said during a rally this weekend in Terre Haute, Ind. Yet he warned if the real estate mogul wins the nomination, front-running Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “wins by double digits.”
Trump this weekend also blasted Cruz for “wining and dining” potential delegates, as a clear example of how the process is a “crooked game”.
“He’s bribing people essentially to vote,” Trump said. “Now he can’t do it in the first ballot because they’re locked in to me in the first ballot.”
He also joked about wanting to be a delegate because of all the lobbying done to gain their support.
The Cruz campaign has responded by saying it has played by the rules and simple out hustled the Trump team.
Trump also criticized how party leaders determine the nominee.
“I am not complaining about it, although I am. I am. It’s very hard to get to the 1,237,” said Trump, also arguing that the initial GOP field of 17 candidates hurt his results.
He follow-up by using a boxing analogy to explain his campaign strategy in the fight for delegates.
“One by one knocked everybody, knocked out a governor, knocked out a senator”, Trump said, making a motion as if he was punching his opponent.