Posted: 8:49 pm Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
While most of the campaign attention was on the ground in Wisconsin this weekend, in advance of Tuesday’s key primary vote, forces loyal to Ted Cruz again engineered a win in the fight to select the actual delegates to this summer’s Republican convention, this time outworking Donald Trump’s supporters in North Dakota.
“I’m thrilled to have the vote of confidence of Republican voters in North Dakota who delivered such a resounding victory,” Cruz said in a statement issued Sunday night.
“Whether we defeat Donald Trump before the convention or at it, I’m energized to have the support of the vast majority of North Dakota delegates,” Cruz added.
Here are the 18 Cruz slate delegates in the top 25 in ND delegation. Highlighted in yellow on the list. pic.twitter.com/AwSOgq7KmJ
— Josh Putnam (@FHQ) April 3, 2016
Trump campaign officials had been publicly predicting they would win at least half of the North Dakota delegates – but that clearly did not happen, though Trump’s campaign manager went ahead and said it did.
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) April 3, 2016
Trump did win the support of the sole Congressman from North Dakota, Rep. Kevin Cramer – but that did not seem to bring any tide of delegates along with it.
25 delegates will go to the GOP convention from North Dakota – all of them officially undecided – but a number of them with obvious support for other candidates.
My informal breakdown:
2 Gov/First Lady
1 Trump/Kasich/highest bidder#NDGOP16
— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) April 3, 2016
The delegate selections in North Dakota and other states are routinely overshadowed by regular primary voting – but don’t underestimate their importance, especially as Cruz tries to make sure that Trump does not get to a delegate majority.
April features a number of these behind-the-scenes efforts, which Trump himself supposedly acknowledged last week (during a meeting with top national party officials) that his own campaign was not as organized for, when compared to a regular primary vote.
Cruz has the chance to pick up more delegates on Friday in Colorado, over the weekend in Michigan, and next week in Wyoming.
Again – don’t ignore such tallies, because every delegate slot that Cruz gets is one that does not go to Trump – and that could put us closer and closer to a contested Republican convention.