Donald Trump looks to finish Ted Cruz by winning Indiana primary


A victory in the Indiana primary would all but give Donald Trump the GOP nomination.AARON P. BERNSTEIN/REUTERS

A victory in the Indiana primary would all but give Donald Trump the GOP nomination.

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is about to show Republicans Hoosier daddy.

The GOP front-runner is poised for a big win in Indiana’s Tuesday primary, a result that would knock Ted Cruz flat and go a long way toward ending the Republican race.

“The Republican race could be a glide path for Donald Trump post-Indiana,” said Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman. “A loss will be enormously painful for Ted Cruz.”

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Cruz has said for weeks how important Indiana is for his campaign, hyping its importance as he looked to reverse a string of stinging blowout losses in recent weeks. Trump’s dominant wins in New York and other eastern states have put him back on the path for the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination before the party’s convention. And a big victory in Indiana all but cements his chances at hitting that mark.

“This is a moment where the entire country is relying on Indiana to save us from going over this cliff,” Cruz told MSNBC on Monday.

Get ready for a tumble, Ted. Trump has led almost all recent public and private polls, with a double-digit advantage in some surveys.

If he can win most of the state’s 57 delegates he’ll need roughly half of the remaining delegates left between now and California’s early June primary, with a number of states that look very favorable for the billionaire.

The Hoosier State should have been ripe territory for Cruz.

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A loss in Indiana would be a major blow to Ted Cruz's presidential run.AARON P. BERNSTEIN/REUTERS

A loss in Indiana would be a major blow to Ted Cruz’s presidential run.

Indiana has the largest number of Evangelical Christians of any of the states yet to vote, the Texan’s strongest base of support.

It has a number of better-educated Republicans, a group that has been resistant to Trump.

Cruz finally got the one-on-one matchup against Trump he’s been hoping for all campaign by agreeing to skip two other states if John Kasich stayed out of Indiana.

But that agreement appears to have backfired, with Trump ripping both candidates for the deal and doubling down on his attacks against “Lyin’ Ted.”

“They made this stupid deal … and since making the deal their numbers tanked,” Trump said of the Kasich-Cruz alliance during a Monday afternoon rally.

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The suburban, socially moderate Indianapolis voters Cruz needed to pull over from Kasich to win instead seem to be splitting, with the majority going to Trump. And the deal seemed to reinforce Trump’s argument that both are typical corrupt politicians.

“The Cruz-Kasich deal really turned off a lot of voters, that just compounded on the momentum Trump already had coming into this state,” said Indiana Republican strategist Jennifer Hallowell. “Trump clearly picked up by a big chunk of the former Kasich voters who were so turned off by the notion that there was a deal made.”

Cruz blitzed the state hard in his final full day of campaigning, making five stops himself as part of a campaign-wide sprint across Indiana.

But his final day was littered with both strategic and physical missteps.

The biggest moment of the day for him came in a heated discussion he got into with a Trump supporter. And when his running mate Carly Fiorina took a tumble onstage at one of his rallies he didn’t move to help her, seemingly not seeing her fall as he shook voters’ hands.

And he was dogged throughout the day by questions from reporters about whether he’ll drop out if he loses — and Trump fans looking to get under his skin.

Cruz spent a lengthy amount of time at his own event arguing with a Trump supporter who repeatedly mocked him after a Marion, Ind., rally.

“America is a better country…” Cruz began.

“Without you,” the man shot back.

“A question everyone like you should ask is…” Cruz tried again.

“Are you Canadian?” the man replied.

Monday was one of those days for Cruz. And it looks like Tuesday night might make things even worse — and all but crown Trump as the Republican nominee.



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