Was The Colorado Delegate Selection Fair? Donald Trump Is Infuriated By How Things Went Down
Donald Trump isn't used to losing primaries and caucuses, and he has hundreds and hundreds of delegates to prove it. However, after Ted Cruz swept the Colorado GOP convention on April 9 and earned the state's 34 delegates, Trump was not happy. In the days after the convention, Trump said that Colorado's GOP results were unfair and criticized the state's delegate selection process. Although Trump has made it clear that he disagrees with how the convention was handled, that doesn't mean he's right about the process.
Colorado GOP leaders canceled the state's presidential straw poll in August because they wanted to avoid having delegates support a candidate who might not make it to the Republican National Convention in July. Because of this, Republicans decided to elect its national delegates through local caucuses on March 1. Republicans across the state of Colorado gathered at the 2,917 precincts and participated in caucuses to select delegates at the county and district levels. Those delegates then elected national delegates — three delegates and three alternate delegates for each of the seven districts, and 13 delegates to represent the state — who were involved at the Colorado GOP state convention.
The problem — at least, according to Trump and other critics — was that the process of electing the ever-important national delegates was ultimately left up to Colorado Republican party insiders and staunch activists, thus leaving out a lot of other Republican voices. However, despite Trump's claims that Colorado residents "had their votes taken away by the phony politicians," the national delegate pool showed that Republican activists overwhelmingly supported Cruz leading up to the state convention.
Even Trump supporters in Colorado recognized that Cruz had strong organizational support in the Centennial State. The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a nonprofit gun rights advocacy group, was one of Cruz's biggest supporters. Before the voting events throughout the state, RMGO reportedly distributed blue fliers that highlighted Cruz's delegate supporters at every voting location.
In January, Colorado Rep. Ken Buck endorsed Cruz ahead of the March 1 caucuses and he became Cruz's official Colorado state chairman. Similarly, Congressman Doug Lamborn partnered with Cruz in April 2014 to pass national security legislation that dealt with strengthening the visa process. Both Buck and Lamborn are two of the state's delegates, which couldn't have hurt Cruz when he was trying to sweep the delegates at the state convention.
Despite Cruz's strong backing in Colorado, Trump has remained angry and committed to the idea that voters didn't have a fair chance to elect delegates.
Although the state changed its delegate selection process, the reformed process was written out in the party rules. Moreover, it was announced in August that the Colorado GOP leaders decided to cancel the straw poll and replace it with the March 1 caucuses, so Trump and his campaign were made aware of the process in the summer. Even though Trump has been vocal about his anger with the state, Cruz has remained positive about his momentum moving forward and his triumphant victory over Trump — which he made clear at a speech after winning the Colorado state convention.
"The credit for that goes to each and every one of you. In three weeks, in 10 elections in a row, we have beaten Donald Trump," Cruz said. Cruz now has 545 delegates to Trump's 743, and 1,237 are needed to become to Republican presidential nominee.