Kasich pulling out, Trump is presumptive Republican presidential nominee

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: May 05, 2016 00:19 IST
This file photo taken on April 18, 2016 shows Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks during a town hall style campaign stop at the Crowne Plaza in Annapolis, Maryland. (AFP)

Ohio Governor John Kasich is expected to suspend his presidential campaign Wednesday, according to multiple US media reports, leaving Donald Trump the lone candidate in the Republican race.

The race for the White House is now clear: It’s Trump versus Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee who is certain to secure her party’s nomination despite primary defeats.

Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee Tuesday after delivering a crushing defeat to Ted Cruz, the only rival posing him a real challenge, in the Indiana primary.

Cruz quit the race Tuesday, and now Kasich, who never had much of a shot at the nomination, faring way worse than many others who dropped out earlier, including Marco Rubio.

With his wife Heidi by his side, Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during his election night watch party at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Union Station where he announced he was suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. (AFP)

Republicans started out with 17 candidates, among the strongest line-up ever fielded by the party, according to many experts, including Indian American Bobby Jindal.

As Trump first shot to the top in polls and then picking off nominating contests one by one, others dropped out, including Jeb Bush, who was once considered a front-runner.

The real-estate mogul’s gravity-defying rise continues unabated, surviving gaffes, scares and missteps that would have ended other campaigns, in regular election cycles.

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With the Indiana win Tuesday, Trump’s tally of delegates climbed to 1,047, only 190 short now of the 1,247 required to win the ticket. Cruz was at 565 and Kasich at 153.

In the Democratic race, Clinton was at 2,201, just 182 short of their threshold 2,383. And Sanders is at 1,399, with no realistic chance of overtaking the front-runner.

Addressing supporters at his headquarters in Trump Tower, New York, Trump tried to sound reconciliatory and eager to unite the party behind him for the general elections, as he has said he will.

The real-estate mogul called Cruz “one hell of a competitor” with a great future, and cited “Heidi (Cruz’s wife), his whole beautiful family.” No “Lyin’ Ted” or other such insults.

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary. (AFP)

Earlier in the day Trump tried to link Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F Kennedy citing a report in National Enquirer, a tabloid that has been harsh to the senator.

It recently published a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who killed Kennedy, with a bunch of men, one of whom, the tabloid said, was Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, a Cuban-American.

But Trump spoke differently in the evening. He was generous in his praise of the senator, who came the closest to stopping him, waging an aggressive expensive do-or-die battle in Indiana.

But Cruz failed. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz said ending his campaign said. “Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it all we got.”

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