Ted Cruz won less than 15% of the vote and no delegates at the Republican primary in New York on Tuesday, a disappointing performance that blunted his momentum and renewed questions about the broad appeal of his campaign.
The Texas senator wasn’t expected to do well in New York, but as he fights to win as many delegates as possible before the Republican convention this summer, a complete and total loss in the delegate-rich New York hurt his chances at a nomination fight in Cleveland.
And it’s now mathematically impossible for Cruz to clinch the Republican nomination through pledged delegates won in state contests.
Instead, Cruz’s strategy is focused on preventing his main rival, frontrunner Donald Trump, from getting the required 1,237 delegates to lock down the Republican presidential nomination outright heading into the convention.
If Trump falls short of that number in the delegates he wins through state contests, it could force a contested convention in which many delegates who would be bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot could choose another candidate on subsequent ballots.
But Trump is now pulling even farther ahead of Cruz on the delegate count. He has locked down 845 delegates to Cruz’s 559, according to The Associated Press.
And Trump is polling well in California, which awards 172 delegates and holds its primary in June, with Cruz in second place.
Trump also had a better night than most analysts predicted in New York. He took home at least 89 delegates from his home state, according to The Associated Press, as well as more than 60% of the vote.
Cruz was hurt among the New York electorate by a lack of evangelicals and strong conservatives, groups with which he typically does well, according to preliminary exit polls from ABC News. And most Republican voters (61%) said they were looking for an “outsider” candidate. Trump overwhelmingly won with this group of people, taking 85% of their votes.
But despite the odds, Cruz is still pushing forward in the race for the Republican nomination. In a speech Tuesday night, Cruz spoke of needing to “unite” the party and restore Americans’ “rightful place in the world.”
He spoke of the words that he said have become the “vision” of his campaign.
“Not, ‘Yes, we can,’ but now, ‘Yes, we will,'” he told supporters in Pennsylvania.
The Republican process now moves on to contests next Tuesday in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, all states considered favourable to the real-estate mogul.