Once again, Senator Ted Cruz blew Donald Trump’s amateurish operation out of the water on Saturday, crushing the Donald in a near-total victory. At stake: who is sent to the convention as a delegate. Those elected to represent are in almost all cases only bound to vote for the primary or caucus winner on the first ballot. After that they can pretty much do what they please. So sending loyal supporters as delegates is an essential part of the nominating process. There were 94 delegates up for grabs on Saturday, and Cruz went for the jugular.
Here is what shook out, by state (in alphabetical order).
Kentucky: The odd-state out, Kentucky’s GOP all but shut out the campaigns from getting loyalists into the delegate slots, instead filling them with “prominent elected officials and party leaders” as Leon reported at the link above. Among those delegates are, Gov. Matt Bevin, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Rand Paul. No harm, no foul (although one might be forgiven for expecting a lot of those party players to be unsympathetic to Trump.)
MAINE: In Maine, Cruz now has 19 of the 23 delegates headed to the national convention, 20 of which were decided on Saturday. As streiff noted at the link above, the only Trump loyalist was embattled Gov. Paul LePage himself, who had a very bad day. An almost complete victory for Ted, and a complete washout for Trump.
MINNESOTA: Of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts, the delegates from three were decided yesterday, three from each one. Cruz swept all nine. Keep in mind, this was the one state won by Marco Rubio, at which time the state bound 17 then-unnamed delegates to Rubio, 13 to Cruz, and Trump only ended up with 8. Now that the Rubio delegates are on the market, the question is who picks them up. On Saturday, Cruz shut out Trump entirely. The remainder will be decided at the state convention in May.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Out of South Carolina’s seven congressional districts, one was decided on Saturday, for a total of three delegates. A Cruz supporter, a Kasich supporter, and an uncommitted delegate were selected.
UTAH: In Utah, Saturday was the state convention, and 37 delegates were elected to the national convention. Two were confirmed and one final delegate will of course be Utah party chairman James Evans. Of the 37 voted in, Cruz took a stunning 36 with supporters and loyalists. You will recall that Cruz won Utah in a massive landslide and all 40 of the states delegates are bound to him on the first ballot. Now he can count on pretty much keeping them after that, too. The only reason it was 36 and not 37 is the final delegate was a “wild card” and simply hasn’t revealed who he supports. In the main, a total shut-out of Trump.
If you’ve kept count, then you know this means that Cruz loyalists filled a whopping 65 of the 94 spots available on Saturday. And that’s not knowing who, for example, Kentucky delegates may lean toward for their own second ballot choice. So he may have picked up even more than that.
In all, a humiliating defeat for team Trump, and yet more proof of the Cruz campaigns superior ability to operate the machinery of the party, follow and understand rules and procedures, and generally be an organized and functional enterprise. In the business world that’s called being a success. Something the man behind Trump University might understandably not recognize.