Republicans likely won’t know whether Donald Trump will reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination outright until the final primary contests conclude on June 7.

Delegate math experts interviewed by The Hill say that if current trends hold, Trump will finish within a few delegates either above or below that magic number.

{mosads}He faces a tricky path to that threshold.  

Trump currently has 736 delegates, according to The Associated Press. He needs to win 501 more, about 56 percent of the approximately 900 still up for grabs, to reach 1,237.  

About one-third of those outstanding delegates will be allocated across five states in contests on June 7, the final day of elections, making it highly unlikely that Trump or anyone hits the threshold before then.

And Trump faces a potential setback in the five winner-take-all states still on the map. The GOP front-runner is favored to win fewer than half of those 159 delegates, and Cruz could take a majority. 

Cruz, who has only 463 delegates, would have to secure another 774, about 86 percent of outstanding delegates, to clinch the nomination. 

It also appears unlikely that Cruz would overtake Trump in delegates even if both men fall short of 1,237, though Cruz will have ample opportunities to close the gap.

Kasich, with 143 delegates, has been mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination before this summer’s Republican National Convention. Even if he wins every remaining delegate, he’d still fall short of a majority.

However, Cruz and Kasich have a reasonable chance of forcing a contested convention if they can finish on top in several winner-take-all states, post victories at the congressional district level in others, and secure delegates in states that aren’t holding presidential primaries or caucuses.

Like the front-runner, they also have very little margin for error.

Here is a look at the states and regions that will determine whether the GOP nominee is known in early June or not until the convention in July.


The next state to vote, on April 5, could determine the trajectory of the rest of the race.

A Marquette University survey released last month found Trump leading by 10, but the most recent poll found Cruz swinging to a 10-point lead. Cruz leads by 3 points in the RealClearPolitics average.

The statewide winner will take home 18 of the state’s 42 delegates. The rest will be allocated at the congressional district level, where the winner takes all.

If the statewide winner runs strong enough in all portions of the state, that candidate could take a strong majority of all the delegates up for grabs there.


There are only five winner-take-all contests for the remaining 20 states that will award delegates between now and June 7. Three of those will take place on the last day of elections.

But the remaining winner-take-all states are relatively small. Between Delaware, Nebraska, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, there are only 159 delegates up for grabs, or less than 18 percent of the outstanding delegates.

There is no polling in most of these states, but Cruz’s best chances are in the three Great Plains states, and Trump will be looking for victories in the two states in the Northeast.

That would mean Trump only takes 42 percent of the delegates in the winner-take-all states, putting him behind the 55 percent pace he needs to maintain overall to win the nomination outright.

New York and California

Collectively, New York and California account for nearly one-third of the remaining delegates still up for grabs. Voters will cast ballots in New York on April 19, while the election in California will take place on June 7, making for a potentially intense night of poll-watching on the last day of the primary.

Both states are hybrid elections, with the statewide winner taking a small delegate prize and the bulk of the delegates awarded to the candidate who finishes on top in each congressional district.

Trump would need to run up the score in both states if he’s to hit 1,237.

That shouldn’t be a problem in New York, Trump’s home state, where 95 delegates are up for grabs and he holds a 39-point advantage, according to the RealClearPolitics average. 

In California, nearly all of the 172 delegates will be winner-take-all at the congressional district level. The candidates will have to campaign strategically and make calculations about what parts of the state best suit them.

The latest Los Angeles Times survey of California found Trump and Cruz running neck and neck.

The convention states

Four states out of the remaining 20 break from the traditional primaries and caucuses held elsewhere by sending unbound delegates to the national convention.

These contests will test the organizational strength of the candidates.

Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and Pennsylvania will either send unbound delegates to the convention, or will elect delegates who have already declared a preference for one of the candidates.

That puts the onus on the candidates to get their supporters elected to the national convention in those states.

So far, Cruz has proven most adept at this. 

For instance, Trump won the popular vote in Louisiana, but Cruz might take home more delegates, having succeeded in winning over the five unbound delegates from the state.

It’s possible that scenario could play out similarly in Pennsylvania, where party activists will elect 54 of the state’s 71 delegates.

In Wyoming, nine of the 12 delegates elected so far have already pledged fealty to Cruz. He’s also expected to take the lion’s share of the remaining 14 delegates at the state convention next month.

Together, these states account for 150 of the remaining delegates.

The Kasich factor

Kasich has justified staying in the race because he says he will run more competitively against Trump in states in the Northeast and Northwest.

Kasich’s campaign has pointed to a recent poll of Pennsylvania, which found the Ohio governor within striking distance of Trump.

He’ll have ample opportunity to test his strength in these states as soon as April 26, when Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will hold contests.

Of those, only Delaware with its 16 delegates is winner-take-all. Most of the rest will be divvied up proportionately.

Later in May, Kasich will look to cut into Trump’s delegate hauls in proportional elections in Oregon and Washington.

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