Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Trump delivered Ted Cruz a knockout blow on Tuesday night, winning Indiana’s primary while the senator dropped out of the race, conceding there was no longer a path to victory.
Multiple outlets projected shortly after polls closed on Tuesday that Trump would win the Hoosier State’s primary.
“Thank you Indiana, we were just projected to be the winner. We have won in every category. You are very special people-I will never forget!” Trump tweeted after his victory.
The GOP frontrunner led in Indiana by almost 20 points over Cruz, a Texas senator, with about 27% of precincts reporting. John Kasich, the Ohio governor, finished a distant third.
The win put Trump on a glide path to obtain the needed 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination. Both The Associated Press and NBC News gave Trump at least 45 of the 57 delegates available in the state. With those delegates counted, Trump stood less than 200 delegates away from securing the GOP nomination.
Late last month, almost all projections forecast that Indiana would be a tough draw for Trump, as well as a must-win yet favourable state for Cruz.
The script flipped in the week leading up to the crucial vote, with Trump soaring ahead in the polls while picking up key endorsements, such as Bobby Knight, the legendary former Indiana University men’s basketball coach.
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Trump held a gigantic 15-point lead over the Texas senator. FiveThirtyEight gave Trump an 83% chance of winning the state based on its polls-plus model, and a 97% chance of winning based on its polls-only projection.
Trump assured supporters during a Monday rally that his campaign is “way ahead of projection” and that he would secure the Republican presidential nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July.
“But if we win Indiana,” he added, “it’s over.”
Knowing that the state could be the last stand of the “Never Trump” movement, Cruz and anti-Trump forces had gone all out to stop him. Cruz began last week by cutting an unprecedented deal with Kasich.
The deal called for Kasich’s campaign to pull out of Indiana, in hopes that his absence would give Cruz the boost he needed to pick up the crucial win. In exchange, Cruz would recede from Oregon and New Mexico, which hold contests later in the nominating process.
But less than a week after the deal was announced by both campaigns, the agreement had already collapsed.
The deal wasn’t Cruz’s only attempt at shifting Hoosier State polls, which showed that Trump held a more than 10-point average advantage leading up to the vote.
Last Wednesday, the Texas senator made another rare announcement. He named Carly Fiorina, an ex-presidential hopeful and the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, as his running mate should he win the GOP nomination. Cruz and Kasich are mathematically eliminated from securing the nomination ahead of the convention, so their potential nominations would have to come from subsequent ballots.
Trump chastised Cruz for that move as well, calling it a “waste of time.”
Based on the results in the state, both moves failed.
“We left it all on the field Indiana, we gave it everything we’ve got,” Cruz told supporters Tuesday night. “But the voters chose another path.”
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