What to expect from Tuesday’s Indiana primary

A pivotal presidential primary in the Republican race to the White House is two days away in Indiana. With 57 Republican delegates, Indiana is the largest delegate prize left of the 10 remaining states except for California. Political reporter Zach Osowski with the Evansville Courier and Press in Indiana joins Soledad O’Brien to discuss.

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    A pivotal presidential primary in the Republican race for White House is two days away in Indiana.

    Of 10 states left to vote, Indiana is the largest delegate prize left until the last primary in California in June. In Indiana, the Republican winner will take most of the state's 57 Republican delegates. New York businessman Donald Trump is aiming to stretch his 430-delegate lead in the race for 1,237 delegates needed to be nominated. He's closing in on 1,000.

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz is trying to stop Trump's momentum. And to help him win Indiana, the third Republican in the race, Ohio Governor John Kasich, has ceded the state. Cruz picked up 10 national delegates this weekend at a Republican state convention in Virginia, where Trump got three.

    On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to Indiana today to rally supporters who gave her a primary victory there in 2008 over Barack Obama. She leads Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by around 300 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses and 800 overall. Sanders said today catching Clinton is difficult, but not impossible.

    For more on the Indiana primary, I am joined from Indianapolis by Zach Osowski. He's a political reporter with the Evansville Courier & Press.

    Nice to see you, Zach. Thanks for talking with me.


    Thanks for having me.


    We see in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll out that shows Donald Trump has quite a lead, 15 percent of likely Republican voters.

    Give me a little sense of confidence in a Trump victory. And what would the implications of that be?


    Obviously, a victory here would pretty much pave the road for him to get to the number of delegates he needs to lock up the nomination.

    Ted Cruz has been fighting hard in Indiana, because he knows, if he wins here, that getting to 1,237 for Trump a little more difficult. But, right now, with the numbers we're seeing with that poll, it doesn't look like that hard work's paying off quite yet.


    What happened to the stop Trump movement and the Kasich-Cruz alliance? Has it fallen apart?


    It seems like it has.

    You know, it was just last week that John Kasich said he was suspending his Indiana campaign. But then just a couple of days later, Kasich said that, if voters want to vote for him, they're more than welcome to vote for him. And just a few days after that, Ted Cruz said that there was no alliance between him and Kasich.

    So, it seems like there was a little bit of a backlash from the alliance that was announced last week. People said it made Cruz look pretty desperate. So, I think he tried to back away from that and say that there wasn't an alliance, and he was trying to win Indiana on his own.


    What do you think the power of endorsements has been?


    It's hard to say.

    Obviously, the endorsement of Governor Mike Pence — he told Hoosiers on Friday that he was going to be voting for Ted Cruz — it's hard to say exactly what kind of weight the Pence endorsement for Cruz is going to have, if any.

    I don't think that it's going to change the minds of voters who were planning on voting for Trump or planning on voting for Cruz already.


    On the Democratic side, how do you see that race shaping up?


    Yes, it's looking more and more unlikely that Sanders is going to get the Democrat nomination.

    Most of the polls we have seen here in Indiana show this race is pretty much a tossup. I think, if voter turnout is pretty big here in Indiana on Tuesday, Sanders has a shot to win in Indiana. But, as far as the long-term picture, it's looking more and more likely that Hillary Clinton is going to lock up the Democrat nomination pretty soon.


    It's not very often that Indiana is sort of the focus of everyone's attention when you're talking about an election year.


    Right. Yes.

    We haven't seen this kind of excitement since 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still battling out for the Democrat nomination. And on the Republican side, it hasn't happened, I think, in probably 40 years.

    And you can see the excitement level, regardless of which rally you go to, whether it's a Trump really, a Cruz rally, a Bernie Sanders rally. Hillary Clinton is here today, and, from what I have heard, the lines have been very long to get in to see her.

    Hoosiers are excited that they're playing a big role in the political process this year, because it doesn't usually happen.


    Zach Osowski is a political reporter with the Evansville Courier & Press.

    Zach, thanks for being with me.


    Thank you.

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