Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz poses with Nolan Latham, a delegate from Sweetwater County, after the Texas senator’s speech at the Wyoming GOP Convention in Casper, Wyo. Photo: Associated Press
Patrick O’ConnorThe Wall Street JournalCANCEL
- BiographyPatrick O’Connor
Updated April 16, 2016 8:49 p.m. ET
Ted Cruz won the 14 presidential delegates up for grabs at a Republican state convention in Wyoming on Saturday, outmaneuvering Donald Trump as the Texas senator looks for every edge to eat into the front-runner’s sizable lead.
The Wyoming win marks the third time in three weeks that the Cruz camp has circumvented the Trump campaign to collect most of the delegates that were to be decided at state conventions, following previous success in Colorado and North Dakota.
The Cruz campaign also notched procedural wins Saturday in Georgia and South Carolina. In both states, Cruz delegates won trips to the national convention, even though Mr. Trump won both states convincingly.
In South Carolina, state law requires those Republicans backing Mr. Cruz to vote for Mr. Trump on the first ballot, given his big win in the Palmetto State back in February, but they can shift to Mr. Cruz in subsequent rounds of voting.
By winning all the delegates in Wyoming on Saturday, Mr. Cruz added to the nine delegates he already won at county meetings last month. Mr. Trump, by contrast, won just one delegate at those earlier sessions.
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz gather at the state convention in Casper. Photo: Associated Press
Mr. Trump continued to rail against the system on Saturday, complaining the rules are rigged by party brass to deny outsider candidates like him from winning the nomination.
“I don’t want to waste millions of dollars going out to Wyoming many months before to wine and dine and to essentially pay off all these people because a lot of it’s a payoff,” he said Saturday during an interview with “Fox and Friends.”
The New York businessman entered the day with nearly 185 more delegates than Mr. Cruz, winning more than twice as many states as Mr. Cruz, and he is the only Republican capable of collecting the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the nomination.
What’s more, Mr. Trump is poised to win the lion’s share of New York’s 95 delegates when his home state votes on Tuesday as he looks to add to his lead. Polls suggest Mr. Trump is well-positioned in a handful of states that vote the following week, as well, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In an appearance Saturday, Mr. Cruz urged local Republicans to back his delegate candidates if they wanted to have any hope of preventing Mr. Trump from becoming the party’s next standard-bearer.
“If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don’t want to hand the general (election) to Hillary Clinton, which is what a Trump nomination does, then I ask you to please support the men and women on this slate,” Mr. Cruz told convention-goers Saturday, referring to the would-be delegates who committed to backing him at the national convention in Cleveland this summer.
Mr. Trump didn’t make the trip and his top surrogate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, canceled her own plans to attend the event after it became clear that Mr. Cruz would again dominate the contest.
Corrections & Amplifications:
Ted Cruz won most of the delegates at a state convention in North Dakota. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated he won all of the delegates there. (April 16, 2016)