How Many Colorado Delegates Does Donald Trump Have? It's Gotta Be A Sore Spot For Him
Is Donald Trump in deep trouble? A flurry of stories over the last few weeks have suggested that, for all of his successes as a presidential candidate, the belligerent billionaire is falling behind in the crucial game of getting his loyalists elected to delegate slots. Now, Donald Trump is bleeding delegates in Colorado, and it’s nobody’s fault but his own.
The issue here is delegate selection, the process by which human beings in each state are elected to serve as delegates. In most states, this is separate from the actual primary or caucus vote, but in Colorado, there isn’t even a primary or caucus vote. Instead, there are a series of conventions, held in each congressional district, at which people run for and are elected to serve as delegates.
As a result of this unusual process, Colorado’s delegation to the national convention is unbound to any candidate. This makes it extra important for campaigns to get their own supporters elected to delegate slots, and this in turn requires organizational investments the state level. For a campaign, wrangling delegates at state conventions is unglamorous yeoman’s work, but at a contested convention, it could make the difference between winning the nomination and coming up a few votes short.
According to a few different reports, however, the Trump campaign has repeatedly failed to get pro-Trump candidates elected to delegate slots at Colorado’s congressional district conventions. NBC News reported that Ted Cruz, whose ground operations have generally been quite successful in this campaign, has swept three straight congressional district conventions in Colorado. That means he successfully got a total of nine Cruz sympathizers elected to delegate slots. Trump, so far, has none.
By all indications, the culprit here is the Trump campaign’s lack of organization and focus. At one convention, his state campaign director passed out pamphlets with the names of three pro-Trump delegates — but when the time came to vote, two of the names weren’t on the ballot, because they hadn’t paid their registration fees. In another instance, a pro-Trump delegate who hadn’t been sanctioned by the campaign made the case for Trump by reciting a poem on stage.
Thanks to his own campaign’s disorganization, Trump could conceivably enter the national convention without a single delegate from Colorado. This is a microcosm of what’s been happening at state conventions across the country: In South Carolina, Louisiana, North Dakota, Tennessee, and elsewhere, state Republican parties — often in conjunction with Cruz’s campaign — are doing everything in their power to deny Trump as many delegates as possible. By all indications, they’re doing a good job.
In the off-chance that Trump wins 1,237 delegates before the national convention, this won’t matter. But if the convention is contested, a possibility that's looking more and more likely, Trump may well come up short because he didn’t put enough resources into the delegate ground game. It’s almost as if holding enormous rallies and saying outlandish things isn’t enough to win a presidential nomination. Even in the Republican Party.