Cruz, Sanders reveal sweeping changes after East Coast Tuesday losses
This week started badly for both candidates, who sustained significant setbacks after losing in the majority of the five states’ primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders managed to pick up his sole victory in Rhode Island, winning 13 delegates versus rival Hillary Clinton’s 11 delegates. The former secretary of state added 216 delegates to her camp from four states, reaching a total 1,662.
Even after securing 163 delegates from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware, Sanders remains 297 delegates behind Clinton. The Vermont senator, however, has not lost hope for a big win in the remaining 14 contests before the Democratic presidential nomination convention in July.
“I think we do have a path to victory,” Sanders told CNN. “We’re going to fight for every last vote until California and the DC primary.”
California and five other states are scheduled to hold Democratic primaries on June 7, and the final voting occurs a week later in Washington, DC.
To focus much of his camp’s effort on winning, Sanders is going to lay off hundreds of campaign staffers across the country.
“We want to win as many delegates as we can, so we do not need workers now in states around the country,” Sanders told The New York Times. “We don’t need people right now in Connecticut. That election is over. We don’t need them in Maryland. So what we are going to do is allocate our resources to the 14 contests that remain, and that means that we are going to be cutting back on staff.”
The Democratic hopeful has not revealed an exact number of his staffers to be laid off, only saying that many people will be affected by the change.
“We have had a very large staff, which was designed to deal with 50 states in this country; 40 of the states are now behind us. So we have had a great staff, great people,” he said.
In California, Sanders hopes to hold rallies for “hundreds of thousands” of people.
“California will have the most staff,” Sanders said, adding that grabbing a victory there would “send a real message to the American people and to the delegates that this is a campaign that is moving in the direction it should.”
On the Republican side, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is also betting on California after losing all five states Tuesday. Cruz only managed to gain three delegates, compared to 109 for his main rival, frontrunner Donald Trump. Even Ohio Governor John Kasich, considered a distant third place in the GOP primary, secured five delegates.
In a last-ditch bid to catch up with Trump, Cruz brought former presidential competitor Carly Fiorina onboard. Having suspended her own presidential run after losing New Hampshire in February, the former business executive at Hewlett-Packard Co. gave a speech as Cruz’s presumptive vice president to an Indianapolis crowd Wednesday.
Cruz admitted that it was an “unusual” move this early in the race but said that it gives voters a clear choice.
"After a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina," Cruz said during the Indianapolis rally, less than a week before the next primary in Indiana.
Praising her in a half-hour long speech, Cruz explained his choice-to-be by describing Fiorina as “superbly skilled, superbly gifted at helping unite this party.”
Fiorina may seem a good fit for Cruz’s campaign, especially with a little over a month left until the voting California, where she had some primary success in the past. In 2010, Fiorina won the Republican Senate primary but failed to win the subsequent general election.
Now Cruz is focusing on the crucial Indiana contest, where he must win big to catch up with Trump and block him from getting closer to securing the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination.
Following Cruz’s speech, Trump blasted the decision to announce a running mate as a “waste of time.”
“I think it’s really a waste of time, honestly,” Trump said, suggesting that it was an attempt to attract more attention to his campaign. “You have to first get the nomination. … He has zero chance.”
With a total 953 delegates, Trump needs to win 284 delegates to reach an absolute majority to become the nominee. From here, that is roughly one-third to half the delegates in the remaining primaries, some of which are winner-take-all.