How Many Delegates Does Ted Cruz Need To Win The Nomination? His Path Is Narrow

There’s been a lot of talk recently of the Republicans having a contested convention in July, but it’s still entirely possible that one of the candidates will win the 1,237 delegates necessary to avoid that outcome. Donald Trump is best-positioned to pull this off, but he’s not the only one with a mathematical path to the nomination. This has many wondering: How many delegates would Cruz need to win to become the nominee without a contested convention?

The most literal answer to that question is 830. If Cruz can cobble together 830 delegates in the remaining contests, he’ll hit the magic number and be the nominee.

But it’s hard to make sense of that answer, because each state is worth a different number of delegates, and each distributes those delegates differently. The more intuitive question might be: How well would Ted Cruz need to do in the remaining states in order to win 1,237 delegates before the convention?

That depends on how well Trump and Kasich do in the rest of the contests, because this is still a three-way race. The math is complex, but thankfully, The New York Times has developed a delegate calculator to help us answer questions like this. And no matter how you slice it, the facts are clear: Cruz has a very, very tough path ahead if he wants to clinch the nomination before the convention.

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Broadly speaking, Cruz would need to get an average of 56 percent of the vote in each state to reach 1,237 delegates. But take that with a grain of salt: Because delegates are awarded not just based on the statewide vote, but on the vote share in individual congressional districts, it’s impossible to give a precise number here, and it’s entirely possible that Cruz could hit 56 percent in each state and still fail to hit the magic number.

But the opposite is not true. That is, if Cruz’s average in the remaining contests ends up below 56 percent, his chances of winning the nomination outright are slim to none.

Of course, hitting 1,237 delegates through the voting process isn’t the only way to become the Republican presidential nominee. There’s also the contested convention route, and that’s what Kasich is banking on. In fact, according to the Times delegate calculator, a contested convention is the only way Kasich could snatch the GOP nomination — even if he won 100 percent of the vote in every remaining state, he’d still be short of 1,237 delegates.

Cruz isn’t in that position. It is still mathematically possible for him to win 1,237 delegates. But given that he’s only scored above 50 percent in one state — Wyoming — that path is looking exceedingly narrow.