As if the stakes in Tuesday’s Indiana Republican primary weren’t high enough for Ted Cruz, enter another twist: Some of those ‘unbound’ delegates he fought so hard to get elected in smaller states like North Dakota now are voicing unease with the Texas senator amid his losing streak to Donald Trump.
While those state contests have been somewhat of a sideshow in an election dominated by the big primary battles, their delegates nevertheless are important to Cruz’s aim of denying Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination and forcing a contested convention.
If some start to waver, the defectors could help put Trump over the top on the first round of voting in July. Questions about their loyalty only increase the pressure on Cruz to break Trump’s winning streak Tuesday.
Of course, Trump could enter the Cleveland convention with an outright majority anyway if he can follow last week’s five-state primary sweep with an Indiana victory, and keep up the momentum all the way through California’s primary on June 7. One recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed Trump up 15 points in Indiana.
Addressing a cheering crowd at a Sunday rally in Terre Haute, the first of four events in Indiana over the final two days before Tuesday’s election, Trump bragged: “If we win here, it’s over, OK?”