Some insiders gave Trump, who needs to win just under 60 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination outright, an outside chance to win on the first ballot – but only if he over-performs in the upcoming states.
One Florida Republican pointed to the fact Trump’s been outgunned in recent states – including in Wisconsin, where his opponents and anti-Trump groups outspent him by a more-than-10-to-1 ratio in television and radio advertising.
“If Trump invests serious money into campaign – paid messaging and infrastructure – he can get there, but he must go for it now,” the Florida Republican said. “Cheap won’t do it.”
A number of Republicans squashed talk that someone other than the three remaining candidates, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, would win the nomination on the convention floor.
“There is no way any candidate heads to Cleveland with 1,237 [delegates],” said a Colorado Republican. “And there is no way someone other than Ted Cruz or Donald Trump walks out of Cleveland with the nomination. Any talk of that is just speculation to fill airtime or wishful thinking among many Republicans.”