Trump says Republican race all but over if he wins Indiana
Opinion poll shows New York billionaire on 49% in Indiana and rival Ted Cruz on 34%
An egg is thrown at a cardboard cutout of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a protest outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel where Mr Trump was speaking in California on Friday. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will have essentially sealed the Republican US presidential nomination if he wins Tuesday’s contest in Indiana, where he now holds a big lead over chief rival Ted Cruz.
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist opinion poll showed Mr Trump with a wide lead in Indiana, 49 per cent to 34 per cent for Mr Cruz and 13 per cent for a third candidate, Ohio governor John Kasich.
Mr Trump sounded confident in an interview on Fox News Sunday when asked whether Indiana would basically end the long-running Republican race in his favour.
“Yes, it’s over,” Trump said. “It’s already over.”
The poll showed the depth of the challenge facing Mr Cruz, a conservative US senator from Texas who is trying to prevent Mr Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates needed to seal the nomination.
Mr Cruz’s hopes rest on emerging as a consensus alternative to Mr Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
Mr Trump, who has amassed 996 delegates, according to an Associated Press count, has momentum behind him and looks increasingly likely to win the nomination outright, without a contested convention, perhaps when California votes on June 7th.
Indiana has 57 Republican delegates. Three are awarded from each of the state’s nine US congressional districts with the candidate who receives the most votes taking them all. The 30 others are awarded to the candidate who wins the most votes statewide.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Mr Cruz said he has momentum in Indiana based on his choice of former candidate Carly Fiorina for his vice-president and Friday’s endorsement by Indiana governor Mike Pence.
“I think the support we are seeing is surging,” Mr Cruz said.
Mr Cruz was pressed on whether he would support Mr Trump if the New York billionaire is the Republican nominee. Mr Cruz evaded the question each time and turned the questions into an attack on broadcast media.
“I recognise that many in the media would love to see me surrender to Donald Trump because that means that Hillary wins. The media has given $2 billion in free advertising to Donald Trump,” Mr Cruz said.
Americans will elect a successor to President Barack Obama on November 8th.
On the Democratic side, front-runner Hillary Clinton told CNN’s State of the Union that rival Bernie Sanders has been “helpful” in bringing millions of people into the party’s presidential race, but it was time for him to step aside.
“There comes a time when you have to look at the reality,” said Mrs Clinton, who won four of the five northeastern states that voted last Tuesday and who has a big lead in the delegate race ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25th-28th.
Mrs Clinton waved off Mr Trump’s attacks on her. Mr Trump has said Mrs Clinton would be getting little support if she was not a woman.
“I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak. I’m not going to deal with their temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to say about me. I could really care less,” Mrs Clinton said.