Goodnight New York! Hellooo California!
So what if the audience chatted through much of Trump’s speech last Thursday at the New York State Republican Gala? They’re New Yorkers! Because when it came time to vote in the Empire State primaries, they turned out in droves for Trump. While the final reporting for some precincts will take some time, it seems Trump should fairly easily cross the 80 delegate mark and gain perhaps up to 85 delegates. Maybe a few more.
His victory speech was targeted in a positive way and less of an improvised slug fest. This has to be the work of his revamped campaign team with Paul Manafort (who's gladly taken over much of the slugging himself) essentially in the role of the new head of his campaign. Rick Wiley, formerly with Scott Walker, was also added. And that apparently was a change too much for Stuart Jolly who resigned his national field director position. Lewandowski is still on board, but in what exact capacity is a little unclear.
With this big win, perhaps the changes he's made to his team will no longer be dismissed as too little too late. As has been the case with most commentary until tonight. Now there's the enormous challenge of both winning as many votes as possible and quickly establishing a ground game. In order to at least contain the damage that Ted Cruz has done through the now officially 538-coined phrase - delegate leakage.
Of course we won't know how leaky Trump's delegates are until - or perhaps if - we get to a contested convention because Trump falls short of 1,237. But all the indications are he's leaked a lot to Cruz's campaign. Big wins like tonight are one way to plug the leaks. But convincing - seducing, wining and dining might be more accurate - delegates is the other big way. Is this Rick Wiley's mission? Manafort handles the media and Wiley goes local and tries shepherding some of the wandering delegates back to the Trump ranch?
If Trump is to scrape past the 1,237 number, he will have to keep winning over the next few primaries. And Rick Wiley will have to start (or has started) planning a detailed ground game on the other coast. Because without enough delegates from California, New York alone is not enough to get Donald Trump across the finish line. But it sure helps.Posted by Keeley at April 20, 2016 7:33 PM