By Thomas Madison

Donald Trump has made it through the toughest part of the primary season with a nice lead. He currently has 678 delegates, 715 if he holds his razor-thin lead in Missouri, where yet-to-be-counted absentee and provisional ballots could play a role. Canadian Cruz currently has 413 delegates, with another 15 to come, providing Missouri absentee voting finishes with Trump holding the lead.

The states ahead are nearly all Trump country. Cruz leads the polling in only one state, Utah, by a very slim 2-point margin. The Donald will need only 522 delegates to reach 1,237. Delegate-rich (172) California is yuge. As I read the Golden State’s rules, each of its 53 districts awards 3 delegates for the candidate who wins that district, totaling 159, with 13 at-large delegates, three of which are RNC delegates (won’t it be interesting to see who the RNC gives their delegates to?).

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Trump should arrive at the convention with the necessary delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, or be so close it would be criminal for the RNC to not push for their front runner’s nomination, notwithstanding the fact that the RNC has proven to be as loyal and predictable as a rattlesnake.

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If Trump does not reach the magic number of 1,237 delegates, we wind up with a contested convention. Maybe I’m crazy (my wife says no “maybe” about it), but I believe that Donald and The Canadian have a firewall plan to prevent the RNC/GOP from engineering a Romney or Ryan nomination.

There are 19 state primaries or caucuses left, offering 909 delegates, not counting Missouri’s undecided contest. Should Trump hold his lead in Missouri, his delegate count will be 715, which is 522 delegates short of the nomination. Here’s my prediction for those states (simply my own opinion). I am using polling from isidewith.com, which I find to be outstanding. Nationally, they have a polling sample of 2.7 million, the largest sample I have seen, and it is real-time data. Trump leads Cruz by 18 points nationally.

I believe I have been conservative with the numbers. I also believe Trump will do somewhat better than this. For example, many of the upcoming states are winner-take-all contests, but the rules for what that means vary from state to state and is nearly impossible to decipher in many cases. Thus, even in those states where Trump is leading in the polling by a landslide, I still gave him only a majority of the delegates, using his polling in each respective state as a guide. In many of those states he will be awarded all of the delegates.

I have Trump finishing with 626 additional delegates, hitting the magic number of 1,237 on the final day of the primary season, June 7. As my numbers are what I believe to be conservative, Trump may reach 1,237 as early as May 10, or possibly even May 3, but he should certainly have the required number by June 7, when over 300 delegates are up for grabs….

March 22
Arizona (58 delegates) – Trump leads by 13. I give Trump 50
Utah  (40 delegates) – Cruz leads by 2. I give Trump 17

April 5
Wisconsin (42 delegates) – Trump leads by 15. I give Trump 30

April 19
New York (95 delegates) – Trump leads by 36. I give Trump 80

April 26
Connecticut (28 delegates) – Trump leads by 33. I give Trump 20
Delaware (16 delegates) – Trump leads by 30. I give Trump 13
Maryland (38 delegates) – Trump leads by 23. I give Trump 27
Pennsylvania (71 delegates) – Trump leads by 28. I give Trump 48
Rhode Island (19 delegates) – Trump leads by 35. I give Trump 14

May 3
Indiana (57 delegates) – Trump leads by 18. I give Trump 38

May 10
Nebraska (36 delegates) – Trump leads by 13. I give Trump 25
W. Virginia (34 delegates) – Trump leads by 30. I give Trump 25

May 17
Oregon (28 delegates) – Trump leads by 17. I give Trump 20

May 24
Washington (44 delegates) – Trump leads by 16. I give Trump 28

June 7
California (172 delegates) – Trump leads by 22. I give Trump 100
Montana (27 delegates) – Trump leads by 14. I give Trump 20
New Jersey (51 delegates) – Trump leads by 34. I give Trump 37
New Mexico (24 delegates) – Trump leads by 13. I give Trump 16
S. Dakota (29 delegates) – Trump leads by 10. I give Trump 18