Ted Cruz Wins All 14 Wyoming Delegates at State Convention

Ted Cruz speaks during the Wyoming Republican Convention on 16 April 2016
Ted Cruz speaks during the Wyoming Republican Convention on 16 April 2016

It’s a Ted Cruz sweep in Wyoming. 

Cruz won 14 of 14 Republican National Convention delegates up for grabs at the Wyoming state convention here Saturday.

The crowd here was clearly in Cruz’s corner, as the Texas senator was the only candidate to make the trip to Casper — ahead of a major snowstorm — and Sarah Palin, scheduled to speak for Trump, previously canceled.

“If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don’t want to hand the general (election) to Hillary Clinton, which is what a Trump nomination does, then I ask you to please support the men and women on this slate,” Cruz said, holding up a piece of paper of 14 recommended delegates.

Twelve members of that slate won. They are bound to the senator on the first ballot and have also made a non-binding pledge to stick with him as long as things go in Cleveland.

For Cruz, Saturday is another victory that demonstrates how his campaign has organized party insiders and activists to make it difficult for Trump to capture the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

Trump spent the day in New York, and twice Saturday — before the vote — decried the convention process used here and last week in Colorado as being unfair. “The system is rigged,” Trump said at a rally in Syracuse.

Wyoming’s delegate process favors the organized. Twelve delegates were already awarded at county meetings last month — and nine of them are to Cruz backers, with one for Trump, one for Marco Rubio (who told CNN she would vote for Cruz on a second ballot) and one uncommitted. An additional three delegates are party officials, and one, RNC Committeewoman Marti Halverson, told CNN she will back Cruz.

With Saturday’s sweep, Cruz can count on at least 24 of the 29 delegates from the state.

Cruz’s top opponent in Wyoming may not have been Trump at all, but a group of Republicans seeking to send a slate of unpledged delegates to Cleveland. Their hope is to earn the state more influence on the national stage as the three remaining presidential candidates scramble for delegates. Many of those won election as alternates to Ohio.

Wyoming is as red a state as they come, so the convention was a chance for state Republicans to put their stamp on the race, something not lost on attendees here. The national media present even received an appreciative ovation at the beginning of the day from delegates.

The Cruz campaign’s grassroots organization was front and center here, with printed slates of the 14 recommended Cruz delegates on each table, a hospitality room, a table full of literature staffed by local volunteers and yellow “TED CRUZ Cruzin Cowboys” balloons placed around the convention room.

Attendees here said the campaign has been in touch with them early and often via phone, and they have noticed a big social media push.

By comparison, the Trump campaign distributed a printed slate with six recommended delegates. The Trump campaign had a table with some snacks and literature, staffed by two out-of-town Trump volunteers.

“You come in a week before the convention and it won’t be as effective,” said Tim Stubson, one of several congressional candidates walking the halls at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Centre.

When Trump surrogate Clara Powers, speaking instead of Palin, started a poem: “Who do we want? Cruz or Trump?” several people shouted out “Cruz!”

Dick Shanor, 61, of Laramie County, is a national delegate already pledged to Cruz. He said he received one call from the Trump campaign, describing it “more as a question about process” than anything else.

Shanor, whose son, Dickie, was on Cruz’s official slate here in Casper and elected to the national delegation, said the goal of backers here is “to give Ted Cruz the least amount of problems he’s got.”

Some John Kasich staffers were in the conference center, but there were zero national delegate contenders pledged to the Ohio governor on the ballot.

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Source: CNN | Dan Berman