New York businessman Donald Trump pulled off a win in Indiana’s Republican primary on Tuesday, leading Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to drop out of the race. That move clears the way for Trump to win the Republican nomination for president.
Cruz, during an emotional election night rally with his family on stage at a hotel in Indianapolis, said: “With a heavy heart — but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation — we are suspending our campaign.”
Before Cruz’s speech Tuesday, Trump posted on Twitter that Cruz “should drop out of the race-stop wasting time & money.”
RNC chairman Reince Priebus, after Cruz dropped out, called Trump the “presumptive” nominee and said it’s time “to unite and focus on defeating” Hillary Clinton.
During a victory speech from Trump Tower in New York City, a more-subdued-than-usual Trump began by thanking his family and acknowledging his late parents and brother.
Speaking of Cruz — his rival in the particularly nasty race — Trump said: “Ted Cruz — I don’t know if he likes me, or he doesn’t like me — but he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough smart guy. And he has got an amazing future. He’s got an amazing future. So I want to congratulate Ted. And I know how tough it is. It is tough.”
After his Indiana victory, Trump crossed the 1,000 delegate threshold. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
According to the Associated Press tracker, Trump has at least 1,041 delegates, followed by Cruz’s 565 and John Kasich’s 153.
Even though Trump has all but wrapped up the nomination, Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, said his candidate is not dropping out. “Gov. Kasich will remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the convention.”
The anti-Trump movement also said they aren’t giving up yet. In a statement, Katie Packer, the chairman of the Our Principles PAC, said: “While tonight’s Indiana primary results increased Donald Trump’s delegate count, Trump remains short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination.”
“A substantial number of delegates remain up for grabs in this highly unpredictable year,” Packer added, saying there’s still “more time for Trump to continue to disqualify himself in the eyes of voters.”
The Associated Press called the race for Trump immediately in Indiana after all precincts in the state closed at 7 p.m. EST.
Aware of the ramifications heading into the contest, Cruz did everything he could to energize his campaign and try to pull out a victory in Indiana — he struck a deal with Kasich campaign so he could face Trump one-on-one; he named Carly Fiorina as his running mate; and he secured the endorsement of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
As Republicans were at the polls Tuesday, Trump and Cruz got into a deeply personal back-and-forth.
Trump brought up the conspiracy theory, spread by the National Enquirer, that Cruz’s father was an acquaintance of John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
Cruz then returned fire by saying Trump is “proud of being a serial philanderer…he describes his own battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam.”
Amusing his critics who found the statement ironic, Trump issued a statement Tuesday saying “Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.”
There are still nine other contests left, including in California, where Trump has been favored to win.