Even before Donald Trump’s big win in New York Tuesday night, the conversations among party officials and high-level operatives about a contested Republican convention were already shifting dramatically.
The magic number of delegates for Trump to clinch the nomination on the first ballot, likely to be his best and perhaps only chance to do so, remains 1,237. But there are now whispers that the real number of delegates Trump must win by June 7, when the final contests take place, may be lower.
“The closer he gets to 1,237, even if he doesn’t get all the way there by the final primaries, the more likely he cobbles it together,” said one RNC member attending the quarterly party meetings in Florida, where sideline conversations are focused on this subject. “There are plenty of delegates that are unbound on first ballot, you’ve just got to go find them.”