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The Texas senator's delegate victories could embolden anti-Trump forces even in states where the fro

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The Texas senator's delegate victories could embolden anti-Trump forces even in states where the fro

Post by duck2000 on Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:37 am

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Guy Short will go to his sixth Republican National Convention in July when the party faithful convene in Cleveland for what could be the most competitive such gathering in a generation.

Guy Short stands on the floor before Senator Ted Cruz speaks in Colorado Springs on April 9.

Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

The digital marketing consultant from exurban Denver attended his first convention in 1996 at age 27. Now 47, he's one of 34 delegates Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won in a clean sweep of Donald Trump over the weekend in Colorado.
It was his latest rout of the front-runner in a process Cruz has dominated with superior grassroots organizing, attention to detail and a greater popularity with the activist base that dominates the process. 

Now underway in multiple states, delegate selection is a second battlefront, as the campaigns slog through their final two months of primaries that conclude June 7 with California, New Jersey and three other states. Next weekend, Wyoming is set to elect 14 national convention delegates in a process that's expected to again favor Cruz.
Winning delegates familiar with the party's rules and convention mechanics could prove especially valuable, if no candidate secures the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination and there's a contested convention, as appears increasingly likely.
"Cruz delegates won't need on-the-job training in Cleveland," said Matt Strawn, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. "This experience will be invaluable during the inevitable fog of war that surrounds an open convention."

Seasoned Activists

Cruz's ability to outmaneuver the New York billionaire at district and state conventions has fed the narrative that the front-runner doesn't have his act together and isn't as big a winner as he proclaims. It could also embolden anti-Trump forces for other delegate contests even in states where he easily won primaries, such as Massachusetts and South Carolina, and in states yet to cast primary ballots like Indiana.
Besides his Colorado sweep, delegates backing Cruz also won 11 of 12 convention slots allocated at four congressional district meetings in Iowa over the weekend. Cruz "seems to be drawing from the ranks of seasoned activists who have been navigating the intricacies of state and local party politics for years," Strawn said.
Late Saturday in Colorado, Short was elected to the convention's Rules Committee, a group that would play a central role in making decisions about a contested convention.
"Having folks who have attended before is important and I think that will serve Senator Cruz well," Short said. "He's going to need fighters on the floor."
Almost half of those on Cruz's slate of Colorado delegates have attended a national convention before, according to Regina Thomson, a state coordinator for his campaign who was also elected to a national delegate slot.
Having more experienced delegates does carry some risk for Cruz because they have deeper party ties and might be more easily persuaded on subsequent ballots if an establishment candidate is put forward.

‘Gestapo Tactics’

The newcomer nature of Trump's candidacy suggests he's likely attracting more rookies to the convention process.
Last week, Trump gave a bigger role on his team to political consultant Paul Manafort, a veteran operative who helped manage the 1976 convention floor for then-president Gerald Ford against challenger Ronald Reagan, the last time Republicans entered a convention with no candidate having clinched the nomination. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is in a distant third in the delegate race, has also signed onto his campaign aides who were involved in the 1976 convention.
In an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Manafort pushed back against the narrative that Cruz is out-organizing Trump at state conventions. He also charged that Cruz's campaign has used "Gestapo tactics" and "scorched-earth tactics" at county and state conventions.
After delegate elections in Colorado and other states over the weekend, Trump led with 743 delegates, according to Associated Press estimates. Cruz had 545, followed by Kasich at 143.
Besides his commanding lead in delegates, Trump is also strongly favored in New York's primary on April 19. Other primaries this month in the Northeast also do not appear to be welcoming terrain for Cruz.
But the weekend activity in Colorado exposed embarrassing gaffes on the part of the Trump campaign, including having incorrectly spelled names and wrong candidate numbers on printed materials about the slate of delegate candidates.
Patrick Davis, Trump's Colorado state organizer, didn't even start as a campaign employee until Wednesday. He blamed the printing errors on bad information from the state party.
Asked why Trump's campaign got such a late start on the delegate selection process, Davis responded that "campaigns deal with what's right in front of them" and sometimes fail to look ahead.
Cruz was a better political fit than Trump or Kasich for the more conservative activists who dominate the party in Colorado, a state with a strong Tea Party streak. Volunteers spent months making phone calls and personal visits to recruit potential delegates and campaign for their success.

Intense Competition

The weekend's action in Colorado also showed how intense the competition has become among party activists who want to be part of the potential drama in Cleveland. More than 600 people ran for the 13 slots awarded Saturday at the state convention in Colorado Springs.
The strength of Cruz's grassroots effort was on display as more than 5,000 of the party faithful gathered at the Broadmoor World Arena for a marathon session Saturday not far from Pikes Peak, the 14,000-foot summit that inspired "America the Beautiful."
As Cruz neared the end of his 25-minute speech to the convention, he gestured to about 70 supporters furiously waving "TrusTed" placards at the base of the stage, while encouraging the crowd to vote for the slate of delegates backing him that was projected on a screen behind him.
He also took note of what he dubbed "shocking bright orange shirts" worn by his advocates on the floor of the convention that he said were geared to "show up on television." Attendees shouted back that the color corresponded to that worn by the 2016 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.
The Colorado delegates elected are technically unbound, although virtually all of them declared themselves as Cruz supporters and will be obligated to vote for him on the first national convention ballot.
On a potential second ballot, when restrictions for many would be lifted, roughly three-quarters of the 2,472 convention delegates would be free to vote for any candidate they want.
If that happens, it could quickly become a chaotic scene, with last-minute candidacies potentially emerging. Convention organizers have said they don't plan to make any special arrangements for the convention to extend beyond the four days scheduled.
—With assistance from Steven Yaccino in New York.

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