Ted Cruz’s political back is up against the wall.
After losing six states in the past two weeks, the stakes have never been higher for the Texas Senator as he tries to stop Donald Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the GOP nomination.
It may all come down to the Hoosier state.
With people already voting in today’s crucial Indiana primary, the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows the New York billionaire increasing his lead over Cruz to nearly 11 points.
Trump has 43%, Cruz 32%, and Ohio Governor John Kasich 15%.
Indiana is a state Cruz should win. It’s arguably the most conservative state in the Midwest.
Cruz won the endorsement of Indiana’s popular Governor, Mike Pence. Cruz also pulled-out all the stops to win-over voters there: He named former Presidential candidate and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina his running mate if he were to win the nomination.
Cruz also struck an agreement with Kasich – Cruz won’t campaign in Oregon and New Mexico and in exchange, Kasich hasn’t campaigned in Indiana.
Yet, the prospects for Cruz to repeat his large victory in nearby Wisconsin are unclear at best, and dimming at worst.
Indiana offers 57 delegates.
If Cruz were to win the state, it would boost his momentum and the narrative that he is a viable alternative to Trump who may still be able to force a contested convention.
If Cruz were to lose in Indiana, his momentum will likely come to a screeching halt.
Trump has 996 delegates. Cruz trails far behind with 565 delegates.
While he has tried to unite conservatives and the Republican establishment behind him, polls suggest it isn’t working as well as Trump’s efforts to rally the party around him.
Cruz has attacked Trump for not being a conservative, but the problem for Cruz is that the real estate mogul has won the endorsement of prominent conservatives, among them: former VP candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the social conservative group Eagle Forum.
Trump has also won-over moderate Republicans and independents.
Cruz has out-maneuvered Trump by winning-over delegates to the national convention in Cleveland in July.
But reports are now surfacing that Cruz may lose some of those delegates if he continues to lose states.
Regardless of what happens in Indiana, the Cruz campaign vows to put up a fight in California, which has 172 delegates up for grabs. He has an uphill battle.
Trump’s lead in the polls in the Golden State is widening. He has an average of 51%, while Cruz is far back with 24%. Kasich trails with 17%.
If Trump wins California, many analysts say he’ll easily win the nomination.
So what once was the “Never Trump” sentiment in the GOP would give way to the “Never Hillary” movement as Trump prepares to take on the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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