Maine’s Governor Paul LePage accused the Cruz campaign of reneging on deal they had stuck after the state’s March 5th caucus to support a “unity slate” of delegates. LePage told CNN that all 3 campaigns had agreed to support a “unity slate” in which the delegates would reflect the actual outcome of the caucuses. This would respect the will of voters and avoid the allegations of delegate theft that have dogged the Cruz campaign.
At the Maine caucuses, Cruz won 12 delegates, Trump won 9, and Kasich took 2. With a “unity slate” each nominee would get the delegates they won at the caucuses – a common sense plan LePage says was agreed by Cruz.
Instead, as they have done in so many other states, the Cruz campaign manipulated the rules at the state convention that selected delegates so that they would get 19 of the 20 delegates up for grabs, leaving the final spot to Governor LePage who is a Trump supporter. They did this without regard to the deal they had with LePage and the other 2 campaigns.
Cruz Campaign “Run By Greedy Political Hooligans”
According to LePage:
“We reached a deal with Cruz’s national campaign to put up a unity slate that would honor the wishes of the thousands of Mainers who voted at caucus,” LePage said in a statement. “But Cruz’s Northeast Political Director David Sawyer lied to us and broke the deal. Sawyer stabbed us in the back, reneged on the unity slate, and betrayed the people of Maine.”
“As we have seen throughout the country, Cruz’s national campaign is run by greedy political hooligans. I can’t stand by and watch as Cruz and the Republican Establishment forcibly overrule the votes of Mainers who chose Trump and Kasich. I call on Senator Cruz to condemn Sawyer’s disrespectful and dishonest tactics in Maine.”
Cruz delegate Josh Dunlap denied there was ever a “final agreement” on a “unity slate.” To people with a suspicious cast of mind – and those used to the over-lawyered languaged used by the Cruz campaign – this sounds like him saying there was an agreement but for reasons known only to Cruz they chose not to consider it “final.” Both of the other campaigns and Maine’s governor disagree. CNN reports:
According to aides from both the Kasich and the Trump camps at the convention, all three campaigns had mutually agreed to a slate of delegates — called a “unity ticket” — with the help of LePage and state party officials prior to voting at the convention.
“The Unity Slate I think is strong,” former New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu, a Kasich backer, told CNN. “The Kasich campaign certainly supports it.”
The Cruz crew and the #NeverTrumpers no doubt believe that reneging on the deal in Maine demonstrates Cruz’s statesmanship and political acumen, but to voters it sounds like just another politician willing to do and say anything to get what he wants. Good luck trying to beat Hillary by manipulating the rule book.