Donald Trump

Kasich, Cruz Out: Will California Voters Follow the Leader?

After John Kasich suspended his campaign Wednesday and Ted Cruz bowing out the night before, Donald Trump officially became the last man standing in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

California republicans now have to make some decisions before next month’s primary: fall in line and support Trump or sit it out.

"It’s a big surprise and coming on the heels of last night’s Ted Cruz withdrawal -- it’s sort of a double whammy for the California party," Republican Party Vice Chair Harmeet Dhillon said.

With Kasich and Cruz also went California’s chance to be the GOP's pivotal primary for the first time in decades is now crushed.

"Two weeks ago, California was the king pin. Today, it’s a jilted bride," said NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston.

After the announcements, people took to social media, with many Cruz and Kasich supporters telling others to vote for their candidates regardless. Some wrote, "Don’t fall in line."

Dhillon says there is a chance Cruz and Kasich supporters will not turn up to the polls at all.

"Or they will leave it blank, which is what I would do if I didn’t support the candidate on the ticket," Dhillon said, explaining she has many friends doing soul searching right now but they are unlikely to change allegiances overnight.

"As a registered republican for my entire life, there have been a couple of times where I did not necessarily like the choice of our party."

Dhillon says she supported the most conservative of the candidates from the original pool of 17; but now she must support the presumptive nominee.

"Not only did I not believe it, but I don’t know a single human in America who believed it," Dhillon said, of Trump’s announcement to run last June. "So I think we were all wrong."

Gerston says everyone from the media to Trump’s opponents underestimated him from the start.

"They all sort of looked at him as sort of a laughing stock, a caricature. Well, guess what? The caricature is the last one standing," Gerston said, explaining the democrats now need to take Trump seriously in order to have a chance to win.

"Really the best thing democrats can do right now is decide on their nominee so they can then take on the republican nominee, Donald trump, head on," Gerston said.

He expects democratic candidate Bernie Sanders to stay in the race, but not past another two or three weeks.

Contact Us