If Wyoming’s victory and a strong showing in Georgia boosted the morale among Ted Cruz supporters on Saturday, Florida proves a reminder that it’s going to be a tough fight to wrest the Republican presidential nomination from front-runner Donald Trump.
But former rival Marco Rubio, who ended his presidential bid, did well here in the battle over so-called “double agents” — delegates committed to voting for one candidate but who actually support another — that has had Trump crying foul for weeks. These delegates are free to vote against Trump on convention rules, possibly elevating Cruz, John Kasich or even a nominee not in the race right now.
Picking up delegates has been a strength for Cruz for almost a month now, and he continued placing his supporters into Trump delegate slots throughout Georgia on Saturday.
But the largely Cuban-American crowd that jammed into the Oliva Cigar Company, located just outside Miami, demonstrated that Rubio could be a player at the Cleveland convention, too. Of the 15 delegates selected Saturday, three were members of Rubio’s Florida leadership team and two were top party leaders supporting Rubio. No Cruz or Trump supporters could be found on the list.
Rubio is holding onto his 173 delegates, making his team one of the most important blocs of supporters heading to the national convention.
The article tries to create a crisis for Cruz out of this but for Cruz it is really a null set. It is an issue for Donald Trump because there is no way Rubio loyalists are going to vote for Donald Trump. Cruz would have been in a better position had his people been selected to be delegates but the fact that Trump has zero Florida votes once delegates are unbound is a huge plus.
It also hints as why a Rubio endorsement of Cruz has not been forthcoming, he his holding onto his delegates in order to influence the direction of the convention. As he will probably have more bound delegates at the convention than John Kasich, this is not to be underestimated.
And what does it say about the Trump campaign that they are losing delegates to a man who is not even in the race?