There is a somewhat of revolt brewing in Colorado where the local Republican Party decided to scrap a caucus and instead select their delegates by a state convention. As a result of this decision, which was made public in August of last year, the Ted Cruz campaign was able to organize strongly on the ground and come away winning all 34 pledged delegates in the state.
As you can imagine, the Trump campaign was displeased and had some harsh words:
A day after being trounced by Sen. Ted Cruz in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted the state party’s process for selecting national delegates and called into question the results.
“The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Moments earlier, he posted a tweet that asked: “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger — totally unfair!”
The Cruz campaign ran the table in Colorado, capturing all 34 delegates at a series of seven congressional district meetings this month and the state party convention Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Colorado GOP leaders canceled the party’s presidential straw poll in August to avoid binding its delegates to a candidate who may not survive until the Republican National Convention in July.
Instead, Republicans selected national delegates through the caucus process, a move that put the election of national delegates in the hands of party insiders and activists — leaving roughly 90 percent of the more than 1 million Republican voters on the sidelines.
The bottom line here is that these rules have been in place for almost 8 months with all parties aware of how Colorado was going to select their delegate. Since this year has turned out to be a tight delegate race, there is now a level of scrutiny on outcomes like this that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten much attention. Voters are rightfully feeling some anger at being left out of the process, especially given the high level of interest and intensity the 2016 race is garnering.
Cruz issued a statement touting his campaign’s unarguably strong organization skills when it comes to state conventions:
In a statement Saturday night, Cruz said the win proves that Republicans are coming together behind him.
“Today was another resounding victory for conservatives, Republicans, and Americans who care about the future of our country,” Cruz said in the statement. “Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and tonight’s incredible results in Colorado have proven this: Republicans are uniting behind our campaign because they want a leader with real solutions who will bring back jobs, freedom, and security.”
The Denver Post cried foul back in February concerning the Colorado GOP’s decision to select delegates by convention and wrote some strong statements on the matter at that time:
The Colorado Republican Party’s decision last summer to jettison a presidential poll at its caucus on Tuesday looks worse with every passing day.
GOP leaders have never provided a satisfactory reason for forgoing a presidential preference poll, although party chairman Steve House suggested on radio at one point that too many Republicans would otherwise flock to their local caucus.
Imagine that: party officials fearing that an interesting race might propel thousands of additional citizens to participate. But of course that might dilute the influence of elites and insiders. You can see why that could upset the faint-hearted.
By contrast, far-sighted party leaders should have welcomed the extra attention to their caucus and the potential activism on the party’s behalf it would have spawned.
That marks ten state conventions where Cruz has out-maneuvered Trump by playing the small game at the local level to come up with big delegate wins. In a campaign this close, these victories are starting to add up.
Moving to New York next will once again return the race to a large primary state, the type of battleground where Donald Trump has had the most success.