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After NY Defeat, Cruz Stakes Hopes on Contested Convention

After a bruising defeat in New York, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is officially retooling his outlook on how the Republican Party will pick its nominee.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz attended a Pennsylvania campaign kickoff event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 19, 2016.

* Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

After a bruising defeat in New York, Ted Cruz is retooling his outlook on how the Republican Party will pick its nominee. 

The U.S. senator from Texas, once hopeful he could win the nomination without a contested convention, is now conceding a floor fight is his only hope. With frontrunner Donald Trump collecting almost all of the 95 delegates that were at stake Tuesday in his home state, Cruz appears to be mathematically eliminated from capturing the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination before the convention.

"We are headed to a contested convention," Cruz said Wednesday morning in an interview on Philadelphia radio. "At this point, nobody is getting 1,237. Donald is going to talk all the time about other folks not getting to 1,237. He's not getting there, either."

Declaring victory Tuesday night in his home state, Trump sought to project the image of a frontrunner closing in on the nomination, saying the GOP field does not have "much of a race anymore." Cruz, Trump added, "is just about mathematically eliminated."

The latest delegate count from the Associated Press gives Trump 845, Cruz 559 and Ohio Gov. John Kasich 147. By most accounts, Cruz would have to win more than 100 percent of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination before the national convention, which is being held in July in Cleveland. 

Cruz always had a steep climb to win 1,237 delegates before Cleveland, but he and his campaign publicly held out hope it could happen. In recent weeks, reality appeared to be setting in as he increasingly referred to a contested convention as more likely.

Cruz's fate was sealed by Trump's massive victory Tuesday in New York, where the billionaire won by more than 35 points and was on track to collect all but a few of its 95 delegates. Cruz, who placed third behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was at danger of not collecting a single delegate.

"Last night, Donald Trump had a good night," Cruz told Philadelphia radio host Chris Stigall, reiterating that Trump was widely expected to do well in New York. "He won his home state."

Speaking Wednesday morning at a rally in Pennsylvania, Cruz downplayed the significance of Trump's rout in New York. 

"You may have heard there was an election yesterday, and as the media are breathlessly reporting, Donald Trump won his home state," Cruz said sarcastically, addressing supporters in Hershey. "Truly a remarkable achievement."

After New York, the electoral landscape does not get much friendlier for Cruz, with five more northeastern states voting Tuesday. He has signaled he will focus on Pennsylvania, where 71 delegates are up for grabs. 

"Let me tell you what Donald and everyone in the media want to convince everyone: that Pennsylvania is a suburb of Manhattan," Cruz said in Hershey, according to an ABC News livestream. "That's their telling. Manhattan has spoken, and Pennsylvania will quietly follow in obedience. I've got a lot more faith in the people of Pennsylvania."

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Politics 2016 elections Ted Cruz