Wyoming also selects delegates without voter input, leaving decision up to political insiders
Still reeling after Sen. Ted Cruz’s delegate sweep in Colorado, voters are waking up to the fact that delegates are the ones who will determine the Republican nominee and that the primaries and caucuses are just for show. What’s more, there might just be another Colorado on the horizon, where voters will get no say at all.
Up next is the state of Wyoming, a state which, along with Colorado and North Dakota, has chosen to not hold a nominating contest this year, which means no primary or caucus vote. Instead, Republican voters there will be represented by county delegates at a convention April 14-16. They will select the statewide delegates who will represent Wyoming at the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland.
Wyoming holds 29 delegates: 14 will be elected at the convention and 12 have already been selected at county conventions — nine of which are Cruz supporters. One delegate went to Sen. Marco Rubio, one went to Donald Trump, and one is uncommitted. The remaining three delegates slots automatically go to members of the state GOP.
After the results in Colorado, a decision made last August when the state party there decided voters would not weigh in, one can expect Trump and his team to take Wyoming seriously and put forth a strong effort to make sure their supporters are selected to the remaining 14 slots at the Wyoming convention.
Wyoming is the final state to opt not to hold a nominating contest. Following the Cowboy State are states such as Delaware, Arizona and Virginia, which will hold their state conventions on April 30 — following their state’s caucuses or primaries. Most of the other states have gone more as expected. For instance, Trump won Arizona with 47.1 percent of the vote, which held its primary on March 22. Since Arizona is a winner-take-all state, Trump was awarded all 58 of the states delegates.
These delegates are bound to Trump on the first ballot at the national convention in July, but Cruz has been working to recruit his supporters for the 55 available delegate slots, so that way when they become unbound on a second vote — should there be one — they will support him in his quest for the nomination.
Delaware, meanwhile, will hold its 16 delegate winner-take-all primary on April 26 and will hold its state convention on April 30, when it will elect its delegates. Virginia, which held its primary on March 1 saw a close election where Trump pulled off a win with 34.7 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 31.9 percent. With 49 delegates at stake, Trump was awarded 17 delegates, Rubio 16, Cruz 8, Kasich 5, and Carson 3. These delegates are bound to the candidates through the first ballot at the national convention, but become unbound on the second ballot.
Looking ahead to the state of Arkansas, which will hold its state convention meeting on May 14, there are county delegate elections in April in which the GOP presidential campaigns will have to be actively recruiting. Trump won Arkansas’ primary on March 1 and took 16 delegates to Cruz’s 15 and Rubio’s 9. It’s important to note that Rubio’s delegates are bound on the first ballot, but if his supporters team up in an effort to support Cruz against Trump on the second, it could spell trouble for Trump.
What’s more, there are now reports that Rubio and Cruz are in fact pairing up to take down Trump in Arkansas. Reportedly, Cruz and Rubio supporters are joining together to make sure delegates are selected that will turn against Trump on the second ballot. This goes to show that the selection of delegates is a check on the American electorate by the Party. Delegates ultimately determine the nominee at the national convention in July despite the fact that a candidate may already have a majority of the vote.
The delegate system and convention rules are designed to benefit the Republican Party and the candidates who understand the system — not political outsiders. When Trump hired veteran operative Paul Manafort as his convention manager, he sent a signal that he would not go quietly and would learn to master the system. But Cruz has been preparing for the delegate battle far longer and has so far outfoxed the reality TV star.
“If all of a sudden, something happens at the convention — not in a smoke-filled room — but nevertheless, someone who didn’t get (the plurality) votes comes out ahead with the majority of delegates, a lot of people who don’t pay attention to the delegate math are going to say, ‘I didn’t realize the Republican Party can do that to us,” Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and a Trump supporter, said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
“And it’s gonna be really, really tough to swallow.”
If Cruz sweeps delegates in Wyoming, as expected, voters can expect to be confused and angry — like they were in Colorado. Cruz is busy implementing a strong ground game and grassroots operation in delegate elections in states that Trump won, including Virginia, Arizona and Arkansas. Cruz is ensuring that his supporters will be at the convention — ready to support him if the convention goes to a second ballot.
And he’s giving Trump fits.