Washington, May 4 (IANS) Front-runner Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican Party’s presidential nominee following a decisive victory in the Indiana state primaries and the decision by rival Ted Cruz to drop out of the race.
Though Trump has not formally secured the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination, there is no serious opposition left to block his path, CNN said in a report.
“It is a beautiful thing to watch, and a beautiful thing to behold,” Trump said on Tuesday night during a victory speech. “We are going to make America great again.”
Cruz tried everything to pull off a last-ditch win in Indiana, including the unusual move of selecting HP CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate even though he was not the nominee. He also forged a pact with opponent John Kasich that would allow him to focus on Indiana while the Ohio governor would devote his time to later states.
However, none of the moves worked.
“We left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got but the voters chose another path,” Cruz said, adding “So with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
With 82 percent of the vote, Trump was in the lead with 53.1 percent of the vote while Cruz was at 36.6 percent and Kasich at 7.6 percent.
Trump has picked up 51 delegates from Indiana, bringing him to 1,053. Cruz had 572.
Following Cruz’s speech, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted Trump is now the presumptive nominee and encouraged the party to “unite and focus on defeating” Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Democrat hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders led Clinton with 53 percent to 47 percent.
Sanders picked up 39 delegates from Indiana compared to 29 for Clinton. Clinton still holds a commanding delegate lead, with a total of 2,208 delegates — including 513 superdelegates.
Sanders has a total of 1,439 delegates — including 41 superdelegates.
Democrats need 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.
Sanders made it clear on Tuesday he would challenge Clinton during all the remaining primaries and called on her to agree on a date for a debate in California, which holds its primary on June 7.
“The Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over,” Sanders said, adding “They’re wrong. Maybe it’s over for the insiders and the party establishment, but the voters in Indiana had a different idea.”
“I want to thank the people of Indiana for the great upset victory that they gave us tonight. This is the 18th state that we have won, and we expect more victories in the weeks to come,” Sanders added.
The next state primaries to follow are West Virginia on May 10, followed by Kentucky and Oregon on May 17.