Donald Trump cemented his status as the presumptive Republican nominee Tuesday with a sweeping victory in Indiana that knocked his top rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, out of the race.
Trump’s dominating victory in Indiana, seen as the last stand for GOP forces aiming to block him from the nomination, all but assured the billionaire of winning the nomination. Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains the last Republican challenger in the race, but he has just a handful of delegates and one win – his home state of Ohio.
With his victory in Indiana, where he was poised to take most of the 57 delegates up for grabs, he needs only a few hundred more to clinch the nomination before June 7. And projections show he’s expected to close the gap with solid showings in the next round of states, including New Jersey and California.
In the Democratic race, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders eked out a win over front-runner Hillary Clinton. The victory gave his flagging campaign a new jolt of life, but it won’t change the daunting electoral math he faces. Clinton has nearly 300 more pledged delegates than Sanders and an overwhelming lead in unpledged “superdelegates” who show no signs of abandoning her.
Cruz’s departure from the race came as a surprise, partly because he spent part of the week rallying voters in California, which holds its vote on June 7. But Trump’s victory in Indiana, coming a week after his dominating sweep of five Northeast states, seemed to end their hopes for a contested GOP convention.
He’s now poised to secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination by June, and some Republican leaders moved to coalesce around him as the eventual nominee. Trump, from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, stepped up his attacks to Clinton.
“We’re going after Hillary Clinton,” said Trump. “She will not be a great president. She will not be a good president. She will be a poor president.”