How Trump could secure the Republican presidential nomination in Tuesday's contests

  • Canadian Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump stands on the brink of unofficially securing the Republican presidential nomination for a third time as voters on Tuesday finish casting ballots in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington and Hawaii, but he’ll need about eight out of every 10 delegates available in those states to do it. Otherwise, he’ll have to wait up to a week before he can once again claim the title of presumptive nominee.

The former president’s near−clean sweep of last week’s Super Tuesday contests, as well as his more recent win in American Samoa’s caucuses, put him just 126 delegates shy of the 1,215 needed to clinch the nomination. This includes 11 delegates in Texas that the state party announced Tuesday would be awarded to Trump. The party had previously planned to award the delegates at the state party convention in May but instead awarded them based on the March 5 primary after saying there was a conflict with Republican National Committee rules.

Trump now needs about 78% of the 161 delegates in Tuesday’s contests, a reasonable goal considering he won 93% of last week’s massive Super Tuesday delegate haul.

With former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley out of the race, there’s little doubt Trump will win most or possibly all the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. But the exact timing of when he reaches that milestone and which state puts him over the top would depend on how dominant Trump is in Tuesday’s contests and possibly how quickly elections officials and caucuses organizers provide vote result updates.

One possible source of delay in awarding delegates to candidates may be in determining vote results at the congressional district level.

All four states holding Republican contests Tuesday allocate a portion of their delegates according to vote results within a congressional district. However, most states compile vote results at the county level and not at the congressional district level, at least not for non−congressional races. Doing so can be a complex and time−consuming operation, as many congressional district boundaries don’t neatly conform with county boundaries. Counties sometimes fall within two or more congressional districts, which means that as county results are reported on election nights, they must be further analyzed and parsed in order to subdivide them into the appropriate congressional district.

The winners of a state’s congressional districts are easier to determine when a candidate has an overwhelming lead statewide as well is in the counties that make up the district. When the race is closer, determining the outcome in a district could take longer.

In Georgia and Washington, a candidate can win all of a district’s delegates by winning a vote majority in that district. In Mississippi, a candidate can win all 12 district delegates by winning a statewide vote majority. In all three states, if a candidate doesn’t meet the required vote−majority threshold, the district delegates are allocated in proportion to the vote in that district. Hawaii allocates its six district delegates proportionally according to caucus results, regardless of whether a candidate receives a vote majority.

The first polls of the night close at 7 p.m. EDT in Georgia, which has 59 Republican delegates, 42 of which are awarded in 14 congressional districts. At 8 p.m. EDT, voting ends in Mississippi, where 12 of the state’s 40 delegates are awarded by four congressional districts if no one wins a statewide majority. At 11 p.m. EDT, polls close in Washington, which has 43 delegates, 30 of which are awarded in 10 congressional districts.

These three states account for 142 delegates. For Trump to win the nomination before the caucuses end in Hawaii, he’d need to win all but five of the delegates from Georgia, Mississippi and Washington.

Robert Yoon And Maya Sweedler, The Associated Press

Photo: AP