The GOP delegate race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is far closer and more competitive than most of the mainstream media is reporting. As a result, and in an effort to get a more accurate view of where this race stands, comes this effort to update the picture with the more accurate reflection of where the GOP stands in the delegate count. The current delegate count reported by Real Clear Politics will be the starting point, with the specific changes not reported there, reported here instead. The current numbers reported there are 755 delegates for Donald Trump, and 545 delegates for Ted Cruz.
The previous edition of this column addressed why the 50 delegates Trump win in South Carolina will be converted to uncommitted, allowing those delegates to possibly and maybe likely vote for Ted Cruz on the first ballot in Cleveland. Additionally, the 10 delegates in Louisiana gained by Cruz were explained, five were uncommitted delegates won by Cruz and the other five were the delegates Marco Rubio won in that state from primary voters. These changes leave the count at Trump 705, Cruz 555.
Conventions held recently in Tennessee and Virginia have lead to Trump losing eight delegates to Ted Cruz, while Cruz has gained an additional 8 delegates won from North Dakota. Additionally, it is reported from Republicans in Arizona that the state’s 58 delegates will actually be evenly split between the candidates, causing 29 delegates to move from Trump to Cruz. These changes mean Ted Cruz has 608 delegates to Trump’s 660 delegates.
Marco Rubio, who is all but certainly likely to endorse Ted Cruz, has 166 remaining delegates, that are likely to vote for Ted Cruz on the first ballot in Cleveland. Those delegates will give Ted Cruz a 774 to 660 delegate lead over Donald Trump right now. That’s right, a Ted Cruz lead over Donald Trump in delegates right now.
What will happen after this is a likely split of most of the states between Trump and Cruz with Kasich winning some delegates in a few of the states. Going with those projections, and using the delegate simulator at Real Clear Politics, and then factoring in the changes covered in this article, the delegate count finishes with Ted Cruz having a 1071 delegates to 1051 delegates lead over Donald Trump. But even at those numbers, some media outlets might still be reporting a delegate lead for Trump. If the 50 delegates from South Carolina vote for Cruz, which is likely, Ted Cruz would be at 1101 delegates on the first ballot in Cleveland.
There will be well over 100 other uncommitted delegates, and both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will have every right to work on winning those delegates. They will likely split between the two candidates on the first ballot. It seems likely that both candidates will fall short of the 1237 delegate votes needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. Ted Cruz would stand a good chance of winning at least 1237 on the second ballot to win the nomination and run against Hillary Clinton in November.