ROCHESTER — Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump says the way the United States chooses party nominees for President is “corrupt” and “crooked” as he faces a possible contested convention that he risks losing.
Speaking in New York on Sunday, Trump argued that the person who wins the most votes in the state-by-state primary process should automatically be the party’s nominee.
Trump compared his woes to those of Bernie Sanders, who is winning states but is still far behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates that decide party nominations.
Trump predicted he would clinch the nomination before the convention in July. “We should have won it a long time ago,” he said.
The billionaire and reality television star is coming to terms with the political reality of candidates chasing delegates ahead of their nominating convention, and now he’s shifting to develop a strategy like the one rival Ted Cruz has been pursuing for months.
Cruz’s ground operation is months ahead in some states when it comes to securing friendly delegates.
“A more traditional approach is needed, and Donald Trump recognizes that,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s new delegate chief, said Sunday on NBC.
“The key, especially for uncommitted delegates, is the electability question,” Manafort said.
Trump still has a narrow path to nailing down the Republican nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7, but he has little room for error. He would need to win nearly 60 percent of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he’s winning about 45 percent.
The Associated Press delegate count stands at Trump 743, Cruz 545, and John Kasich 143. Marco Rubio, who ended his campaign, has 171 delegates.
JILL COLVIN, Associated Press
LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press