Ted Cruz drops out; Trump and Clinton sprint to party nomination
JUST IN: (CNN) — Ted Cruz will drop his White House bid after a stinging loss in the Indiana Republican primary.
(CNN) — Donald Trump surged to a decisive victory in the Indiana Republican primary Tuesday, CNN projects, while Ted Cruz’s last-ditch efforts to win the state faltered, leaving Trump on the cusp of the nomination.
Though the real-estate mogul won’t secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him.
Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination.
Cruz now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis.
The Texas senator tried everything to pull off a last ditch win in Indiana, including the unusual move of selecting Carly Fiorina as his running mate even though he wasn’t the nominee. He also forged a pact with John Kasich that would allow him to focus on Indiana while the Ohio governor would devote his time to later states.
But none of the moves seemed to work.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders hopes to upset national front-runner Hillary Clinton in Indiana. But even if he ends up on top, he is unlikely to cut deeply into her large delegate lead that has her on track for the nomination.
Trump’s dramatic victory caps a day of extraordinary developments in the Republican race.
Cruz, facing the prospect of an Indiana defeat, snapped after weeks of personal attacks from Trump that included fresh insinuations that his father was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald.
“I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump,” he told reporters at a morning news conference.
Cruz blasted Trump as a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen” and “a serial philanderer.”
He unleashed his full arsenal of insults in his attack on Trump.
“He is proud of being a serial philanderer … he describes his own battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam,” Cruz said, citing a decades-old Trump appearance on “The Howard Stern Show.”
“This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … in a pattern that is straight out of a psychology textbook, he accuses everyone of lying,” Cruz said as Indiana voters headed to cast their ballots. “Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it … the man is utterly immoral,” Cruz said.
Trump hit back in a statement blasting Cruz as a “desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign.”
“It is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes,” Trump said. “Over the last week, I have watched Lyin’ Ted become more and more unhinged as he is unable to react under the pressure and stress of losing, in all cases by landslides, the last six primary elections — in fact, coming in last place in all but one of them.
Trump added: “Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.”