Arizona’s Republican voters may have overwhelmingly picked Donald Trump during last month’s presidential primary, but a new report says Ted Cruz still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
In an article published in the Washington Examiner, members of the Cruz campaign discussed their strategy for packing Arizona’s delegate seats with Cruz supporters so that — in the case of a contested GOP convention in Cleveland this July — Cruz would crush Trump.
If it sounds confusing, it’s actually not: Arizona, being a winner-take-all state, sends 58 delegates to the national convention who are obligated to vote to Trump in the first round of votes. But if the convention is contested – meaning no candidate gets 1,237 delegates – those delegates are free to vote for whomever they want in the second round of voting.
It’s no secret that Cruz is riding the #AnyoneButTrump train and hoping for a contested convention, hence his ground campaign to recruit delegates loyal to him.
Republican state Representative David Livingston, a Cruz supporter, told the Examiner that the Cruz campaign is working hard to solicit potential delegates so that, come April 30, when the state GOP selects its national delegates, a sizable majority of them are on Team Cruz.
"We're looking for either Cruz supporters or those who recognize that, to win in November, we need Senator Cruz," added Constantin Querard, an organizer with the Arizona Cruz campaign. He said the campaign is hoping to woo voters who previously supported Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, as well as anyone fearful of Trump.
"The effort is there, the organization is there, the support team is there,” he adds.
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Team Trump isn't just dishonest in portraying a democratic race 4 delegates as "theft" "stealing" etc, they're reckless w/people's safety.— Constantin Querard (@CQuerard) April 5, 2016
But while the Examiner article makes it sound like Cruz is trying to steal Trump's delegates, this is how the delegate process works every four years, meaning Cruz isn't necessarily being tricky.
What's more, the Trump campaign is launching a similar effort with e-mails and phone calls, but Cruz is widely seen as having a stronger and more coordinated ground campaign in Arizona.
Nationally, Trump still leads in the delegate race — he has 736 to Cruz’s 463 — but with Cruz expected to do well in today’s Wisconsin primary, that margin of difference could shrink again, making it all the more possible that the National Convention ends up contested.