Trump Team Vows to Win Delegate Majority

NEW YORK — Leaders of Donald Trump’s new campaign team said they have revised targets that would make the real estate mogul the presumptive Republican presidential nominee by mid-May and that would win him the delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the party’s convention this summer according to the Washington Post.

To do so, Trump would have to go on a month-long hot streak, starting in New York on April 19, that would deliver a sizable haul of delegates — including increased commitments from those who are unbound — and silence the widespread talk that his unpopularity and his campaign’s sloppy execution have made it nearly impossible to avoid a contested convention.

The earliest Trump could assemble the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination is on the final day of the primary season, June 7, when the big states of California and New Jersey vote. Between now and then, he needs to win nearly 60 percent of the delegates still available — a higher percentage than he has thus far.

“Our target date is June 7, but our goal is in the middle of May to be the presumptive nominee,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s newly installed convention manager, who has been given broad authority to shape the campaign, said in a wide-ranging interview here.

The expressions of confidence come as Trump has begun a significant transition in his campaign, one designed to build ties to the institutional Republican Party, allay fears about a possible general election defeat and adopt more traditional elements in what has been an impulsive operation.

Trump’s remaining two rivals — Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — offer a distinctly different assessment. They see the race transitioning into a more granular phase as the three candidates compete to win committed delegates and persuade those who are unbound. They are convinced — as, increasingly, are many party leaders — that the Cleveland convention in July will be contested.

That outcome would result in two weeks of fights over rules, credentials, platform planks and eventually the nomination itself. In the absence of a nominee, it will fall to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to stage manage the potential chaos. The RNC already has a group at work trying to anticipate flash points or trouble spots and to think through how to smooth a process that has not occurred in decades.

The unresolved drama leaves the Republican Party and its candidates partially frozen at a moment when ordinarily a presumptive nominee would begin the arduous job of uniting the party; raising money, hiring staffers and opening offices in fall swing states; vetting and selecting a vice presidential running mate; appealing to a broader electorate; and drawing contrasts with the other party.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was free to do just that four years ago this Sunday, when former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) dropped out of the race.

“These are all big, tough moves that must be coordinated and implemented flawlessly,” said Scott Reed, a veteran GOP strategist who now advises the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

To get an early start, the RNC has begun talks with the three remaining campaigns about entering joint fundraising agreements, RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer said. This arrangement — similar to one Hillary Clinton has with the Democratic National Committee — would enable the candidates to raise money for the national party at far higher levels than the $2,700-per-person legal limit for individual campaigns.

Meanwhile, the RNC has invested in data programs and built a ground organization in the battleground states that the eventual nominee stands to inherit.

“The RNC is exponentially better equipped and staffed than at any point in history,” Spicer said. When Romney assumed the nomination, Spicer said, “we had four people in the field in 2012. We now have hundreds, and they’ve spent multiple years doing voter contact and getting ready for what will be the nominee.”

[SOURCE: Washington Post]

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