Ever since Donald Trump emerged as the Republican front-runner, talk of a contested convention has been proposed to stop his nomination.
All of this speculation relies on Trump failing to get the 1,237 delegates necessary to win.
However, there is still a path for the New York real estate developer to be named the nominee on the first ballot of voting.
The most recent polling out of the next key primary state, Wisconsin, shows Trump losing. But this is just a bump in the road for The Donald as the states following Wisconsin are favorable to him.
Per the Associated Press, Trump currently has the support of 736 pledged delegates. Trump is 501 delegates short of the nomination and he can finish April with 200 more delegates. These delegates would come from strong finishes in Trump-friendly states such as New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Throughout his campaign Trump has performed strongly in the Northeast, with the notable exception of Maine. Unless a loss in Wisconsin changes the narrative dramatically, he will pick up a majority of delegates in most of these states, and all of them in winner-take-all Delaware.
It is important to note that 54 of Pennsylvania’s delegates are unbound to any candidate going into the first ballot of the GOP convention. The other 17 from the state are winner-take-all on a state-wide basis.
Trump would then be going into May with about 940 delegates. As with April, May is full of states that give an edge to Trump.
The New York real estate developer would need to win in Indiana, West Virginia, Oregon, and Washington. These states all fit the profile of a Trump state — heavily white and fairly moderate. Indiana is a state where Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] could perform strongly, so Trump would need to focus on his message in the Hoosier State.
Nebraska is a winner-take-all state in May, and its 36 delegates most likely will go to Cruz. The Cornhusker State is similar to midwestern states where Cruz has succeeded, and its junior senator, Ben Sasse, is one of Trump’s toughest critics.
With Trump wins in these four states he could gain about 115 delegates in May. He would be entering June with about 1,055 delegates. Trump would then need to get around 200 delegates in June to secure the nomination.
Two of the states in June are distinctively favorable to Trump – New Mexico and New Jersey. New Mexico is a border state and Trump would need to repeat results similar to Arizona. With a similar finish here he would get 12 delegates.
Trump has received the endorsement of New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie and if the state follows the patterns of its neighbor New York, Trump will end up winning 51 delegates. The Garden State is winner-take-all.
One primary in June is likely to go to Cruz and that is Montana. He has performed strongly in similar states and the Texas senator is currently trying to get Ohio Gov. John Kasich thrown off the ballot there.
South Dakota holds its primary as well in June, however it does not elect candidates and instead chooses unbound delegates to send to the national convention in July.
California then becomes mightily important for Trump with over 172 delegates up for grabs. If Trump has stayed on a steady track to the nomination by this point he would need about 119 delegates.
The New York real estate developer would need to win the state and get the 13 delegates that are awarded winner-take-all on a state-wide basis. The other 159 are also winner-take-all by congressional district.
This would mean that Trump would need to to secure the support of 74 percent of California’s congressional districts.
But what if Trump doesn’t get that strong performance in California? After-all the most recent polling in the state has him ahead of Cruz by only one percent. If Trump fell short and won say 65 delegates in California, he is still not out of contention from winning on first-ballot. In this scenario he would be in need of 41 more delegates to secure the nomination.
This is where those 54 unbound delegates from Pennsylvania and other places such as Colorado come into play.
There are 323 unbound delegates up for grabs on the first ballot, these include those that have backed candidates that have since dropped out.
Florida Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] is currently fighting to keep the 171 delegates that he won bound to him on the first ballot. This is an unprecedented effort and is unknown how successful it will be. A Rubio aide told MSNBC this effort was in order to “give voters a chance to stop Trump.”
If Rubio is successful that would still leave 151 delegates. The Trump campaign has already acknowledged they plan to win over these free agent delegates before the convention.
Barry Bennett, a Trump advisor on delegate strategy, has said, “you’ve got 40 days between the last primary and the convention to go woo the appropriate number of unbound delegates.” He added, “You still have a chance to put together 50 or 75 delegates to win on the first ballot.”