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Cruz outmuscles Trump, wins most Colorado delegates

Jennifer Oldham

Ted Cruz, displaying a strong campaign organization and popularity among grassroots activists, secured the support of a majority of Colorado delegates who will attend the Republican National Convention in July and is positioned to win more on Saturday.

The showing from the junior senator from Texas highlighted a problem that could hinder Republican front-runner and political novice Donald Trump heading into Cleveland — the lack of a robust national organization.

“You all have been a part of something incredible that has happened over the last three weeks,” Cruz told several thousand party activists gathered at a statewide convention in Colorado Springs, as he reflected on recent victories in Utah and Wisconsin.

Cruz celebrated his delegate wins so far in Colorado, while saying he hopes he can increase his total later in the day. “Together, we won all 21,” Cruz said to big applause. “The credit for that goes to each and every one of you.”

Statewide Delegates

After balloting Friday, Cruz had the backing of 21 of the state’s 37 national convention delegates. Party loyalists will select another 13 statewide delegates, who will join the 21 district delegates and three Colorado party leaders at the national convention.

Slates loyal to Cruz won in all seven of the state’s congressional district assemblies, including some Friday that attracted several thousand people to a packed hotel conference space near the official state convention venue.

The balloting continued a troubling trend for Trump, whose lack of a robust campaign infrastructure has left him vulnerable to losses in states with complex delegate selection systems such as in Colorado.

Stop-Trump Movement

Cruz, as well as much of the party’s establishment, is trying to deny Trump enough delegates for a first-ballot nomination in Cleveland. As of late Friday, Trump led the delegate race with 743, according to Associated Press estimates. Cruz had 520, while Ohio Governor John Kasich lagged far behind at 143.

The 37 delegates from Colorado are a small fraction of the 1,237 needed to win. Yet with the likelihood of a contested national convention on the rise, a handful of delegates could make a difference, and the competition for their selection has taken on much greater significance than traditionallyhas been the case.

Instead of holding a statewide primary or caucus like most states, Colorado employs a series of local, congressional-district and statewide gatherings where people compete to be delegates. That months-long process wraps up on Saturday.

Cruz spoke before continuing on to Las Vegas for an appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition. Neither Trump nor Kasich, the other remaining Republican presidential candidate, attended Colorado’s convention. Both sent surrogates to pitch their messages.

Trump, the New York real estate developer, has never sought elected office and is short on grassroots organization. This week he gave a bigger role on his team to political consultant Paul J. Manafort. The veteran operative 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.