A live television screen at the Trump Tower displays the news to Trump supporters and journalists that Ted Cruz is pulling out of the presidential campaign after losing Indiana on May 03, 2016 in New York, New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
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Donald Trump seized the mantle of Republican standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential election late Tuesday, sending his only serious challenger Ted Cruz crashing out of the White House race.It was a stunning denouement for the arch-conservative Texas senator who had insisted he would press on to the final day of the Republican race.His departure leaves the low-polling Ohio Governor John Kasich as Trump's only other challenger for the nomination -- making it a virtual certainty that Trump will go head to head in a general election matchup with Clinton. The top echelon of the Republican establishment said as much minutes after Cruz capitulated, with Republican Party chief Reince Priebus declaring Trump the "presumptive" nominee. Cruz had been hoping to use the midwestern state to block Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination ahead of the Republican convention in Cleveland in July.Trump thumped Cruz by about 53.3 percent to 36.6, with Kasich an Indiana footnote at 7.6 percent.With Cruz out of the race, crossing the threshold is a foregone conclusion for Trump.Even before the Indiana results, Trump and Clinton had pivoted toward one another.
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