Why might Senator Cruz stay in the race until the convention begins? First, Sen. Cruz does have a chance of winning the nomination outright, though it can’t be much higher than 0.02 at the moment[a]. Second, he’s got 425 delegates, almost 2/3 as many as Mr. Trump[b]. And Sen. Cruz will pick up more along the way[c]. He might even win enough delegates in California[d] to deny Mr. Trump the ability to win 1,237 delegates before the Republican convention. Third, even if Sen. Cruz does not manage either to win the nomination before the end of the primaries or to deny Mr. Trump a majority of the delegates, it makes sense for him to be seen as in play for as long as possible. For he would be the most obvious beneficiary if Mr. Trump were forced to withdraw. And Mr. Trump will be 70 before the convention; no matter how good his health is supposed to be[e], that ain’t young. Moreover, as @Anneinak points out, Cruz might yet receive a gift from the Republican Rules Committee[f].
So why might Sen. Cruz leave the race before the convention? One possibility is some sort of debilitating scandal arises. Another is ill health, either his own or that of one of his family members. Without much evidence, I think that these are very low probability events. Yet another possibility is an utterly humiliating loss, a la Marco Rubio in Florida. But Sen. Cruz has already won his home state (handily), and a bad loss (in, say, Utah) would sting but would probably be forgotten in the next news cycle. The only serious obstacle I can see in the possibility of running out of money, and that doesn’t seem likely. Cruz has $13.6 million on hand[g]. That’s almost as much as Bernie, and nearly an order of magnitude more than Governor John Kasich.
So I think Sen. Cruz is in it to the end, bitter or not.
- 1% Before the New York primary
- 1% After the New York primary but before the Nebraska primary
- 1% After the Nebraska primary but before the California primary
- 2% After the California primary but before the Republican National Convention begins
- 95% Not before the Republican National Convention