INDIANAPOLIS—Donald Trump took a major step toward sewing up the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a victory in Indiana’s primary election, dashing the hopes of rival Ted Cruz and other GOP forces who fear the brash businessman will doom their party in the general election.
While Trump can’t mathematically clinch the GOP nomination with his victory in Indiana, his path now becomes easier and he has more room for error in the remaining primary contests. Trump’s win also was a big psychological blow to Cruz, the conservative Texas senator who hasn’t topped Trump in a month.
Recent polls give Trump double-digits leads in the crucial state of California, and most expect him to secure at least 1,237 delegates, thereby gaining the nomination, if he wins Indiana.
Cruz campaigned vigorously in Indiana, securing the endorsement of the state’s governor and announcing businesswoman Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But he appeared to lose momentum in the final days of campaigning and let his frustration with Trump boil over Tuesday, calling the billionaire “amoral” and a “braggadocious, arrogant buffoon.”
Cruz has vowed to stay in the race through the final primaries in June, clinging to the possibility that Trump will fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs and the race will go to a contested convention. But he could face pressure from donors and other Republicans to at least tone down in attacks on Trump in an attempt to unite the GOP heading into the general election.