Posted: 12:09 am Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
From Columbus, Ohio –
Confident of victory in Florida on Tuesday, Donald Trump used a final rally in the Buckeye State to zero in on home state Gov. John Kasich, appealing to voters here to brush aside efforts by Kasich and others to deny Trump a majority of delegates for the Republican nomination.
“Ohio is going to make America great again,” Trump said to cheers in a rally outside of Youngstown, making sure to take dead aim at Kasich, who has held a stubborn lead in most polls in recent days.
“Kasich cannot make America great again – can’t do it,” Trump added.
How important is Ohio? Let’s look at the delegate math on Tuesday for each of the four remaining Republicans.
Remember – there are not just five states voting, but also 26 Congressional districts (18 in Illinois and 8 in Missouri) – which means we have 31 Republican elections to worry about on Tuesday.
DONALD TRUMP – The GOP leader, Donald Trump has the biggest upside of any candidate. He is favored in the biggest state of Florida (99 delegates) and could well win the winner take all prize of 66 delegates in Ohio. Trump is also favored in North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.
BEST CASE SCENARIO FOR TRUMP – Trump wins Florida and Ohio, getting 165 delegates. He wins about 35 delegates in North Carolina, and wins a number of Congressional districts in Illinois and Missouri, netting a total of 270. That’s also the number of electoral votes you need to win in November, as a finish like that might end the GOP race.
WORST CASE FOR TRUMP – He loses Florida and Ohio. Cruz wins substantial delegates in Illinois and Missouri, keeping Trump to only about 80 delegates total. That would be a disaster.
TRUMP TARGET – Anything over 180 delegates is a majority for Trump, and that would certainly help. If things break right, he could easily get to over 200.
Trump needs to win 267 of tonight's 368 delegates for his share of the delegates allocated so far to climb back to 50%.
— Taniel (@Taniel) March 15, 2016
TED CRUZ – There are signs of confidence from the Cruz camp, that they think there is a path forward on March 15 for a chunk of delegates for the Texas Senator. Certainly he needs to limit any losses, especially if Trump wins in Florida and gets those 99 delegates.
BEST CASE FOR CRUZ – The best case scenario starts with Trump losing both Florida and Ohio, which then gives Cruz the chance to win Missouri and Illinois and maybe even come out on top in delegates on Tuesday night. A strong showing in North Carolina would also help. Cruz must win a number of Congressional districts in both Illinois and Missouri to run up his delegate total. If Cruz gets to 100+ delegates, that would be a very good showing.
WORST CASE FOR CRUZ – That starts with Trump winning both Florida and Ohio, and then getting chunks of delegates from the three other states. Cruz might end up with less than 50 in that scenario, which would raise serious questions about the future of his own campaign, let alone those of Kasich and Rubio.
MARCO RUBIO – Rubio has one chance to do well, and that is in his home state of Florida. A win there would give Rubio 99 delegates. Rubio can expect to get a few more in North Carolina, where the delegates are handed out proportional to your vote. He seems unlikely to win much in either Illinois or Missouri, and will not win any delegates in Ohio.
BEST CASE FOR RUBIO – Florida plus a few in North Carolina would give Rubio a maximum of around 105 delegates.
WORST CASE FOR RUBIO – A loss in Florida, and only a few delegates in the Tar Heel State – maybe 3 total.
JOHN KASICH – Kasich has a legitimate chance to win in Ohio, which has 66 delegates. Like Rubio, Kasich needs a win to stay in the GOP race, even though both men have talked bravely about going on if they lose – few see that as a realistic plan.
BEST CASE FOR KASICH – He wins Ohio to get 66 delegates, picks up a couple in North Carolina, and wins maybe a few in Illinois through Congressional districts in Chicago – a maximum of around 75 delegates.
WORST CASE FOR KASICH – A loss in Ohio, and only a few delegates in North Carolina – like Rubio, possibly only 3 delegates total.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.