Businessman Donald Trump is now the sole Republican candidate for his party’s nomination after Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) ended his bid Wednesday morning, clearing the path for Trump to begin shifting his focus to the November general election.
After a brutal finish in the Indiana primary Tuesday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — the second place finisher in total delegates won throughout the race — withdrew his candidacy with only half of the state’s precincts reporting.
Shortly after, Kasich campaign manager Beth Hansen sent out a fundraising email to supporters insisting his candidate could take on Trump in the last leg of races until the party meets in Cleveland for its summer nominating convention.
"Sen. Ted Cruz just dropped out of the presidential race and it's up to us to stop Trump and unify our party in time to defeat Hillary Clinton," Hansen said in the email.
According to CNN reporter Sara Murray, Kasich was scheduled to attend fundraisers in the Washington, D.C. area on Wednesday but cancelled them after a change of heart that morning.
Before Tuesday, Trump had a 2-1 advantage over Cruz in number of total delegates, with Trump far more closer to securing the magic 1,237 number necessary to clinch the nomination. Kasich, who only had about a tenth of Trump’s total, was mathematically unable to win a majority of delegates, as was Cruz.
About a week ago, the two candidates had agreed to work together to keep Trump from reaching a majority of delegates in the last few primaries, which would have forced a contested convention this summer when delegates would not be bound by how their state or congressional district voted.
Trump will now face whichever candidate emerges from the Democratic primary, where Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is fresh off his surprise win in Indiana Tuesday night over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had initially led in most polls leading up to the night of the primary.
Clinton currently leads in delegate counts and is the most likely to face Trump in the general election, according to analyses from several media outlets and political operatives.