- Donald Trump believes he will win by healthy margins in New York and California
- An aide met with congressional Republicans Thursday
In a private meeting on Capitol Hill, Trump aide Ed Brookover laid out a bullish road map for Trump to win by healthy margins in the upcoming primary states, starting in New York on Tuesday and concluding with a victory in California's June primary. Despite Trump's steep climb to win 1,237 delegates before the Cleveland convention, Brookover insisted a contested convention simply wouldn't happen and that Trump was on a "glide path" to the nomination.
"The hard number is 1,237, and we think we're going to blow way past that," said Brookover, a long-time GOP political operative in Washington.
Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who is helping lead Trump's outreach on Capitol Hill, said the Trump campaign told lawmakers that the candidate would secure 85 of his state's 95 delegates on Tuesday.
"That is conservative," Collins said of the Trump campaign's projections in his state. "We talked about 1,237, and I can tell you we got to 1,265 in a conservative way."
Brookover added winning 1,265 delegates was possible but called it a "back-of-the-envelope" estimate.
"We have to work hard, we have to talk to the voters, but I think the path, which has very few obstacles to us winning on
the first ballot," Brookover said of the convention.
The long and winding road to the Republican nomination
The meeting with roughly half dozen House Republicans who support Trump and one undecided member is the first of weekly sessions the campaign plans to hold with lawmakers, hoping to broaden its support on Capitol Hill as Trump tries to fend off Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The lawmakers said they traded information about how to sell Trump's message to voters in their home districts and bolster the campaign's voter outreach efforts.
Related: The CNN delegate tracker
Despite the campaign's upbeat assessment, Trump still faces a tough slog where he'll have to win by healthy margins in several key states in order to become the nominee. If he doesn't secure 1,237 before the convention, it could give an opening to Cruz or another candidate after delegates become unbound after the first ballot.
Speaking to reporters outside the Capitol Hill Club, Brookover downplayed the ongoing fight between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee governing how delegates are picked.
"It's been our opinion that when you have primaries with open processes we do very well, and we're heading into another part of the season where that's the case so we're happy the New York primary is coming up, the Pennsylvania primary is coming up where we can stop talking about rules and start talking about the will of the people," Brookover said.