Senator Ted Cruz won all 34 elected Republican National Convention delegates from the state of Colorado without any votes being cast by citizens. The Colorado Republican Party leaders decided not to hold a regular primary or caucus for the presidency this year, instead electing to hold a state assembly in 2016.
The move made Colorado the only state to opt out of the process for a nomination. A state assembly is a much more open and chaotic process than a primary or caucus, and gives way to an almost open nomination process. With about 8,000 party members attending, it was the largest state convention ever for the Colorado Republicans.
In a state assembly, Colorado voters voted for delegates who will attend the Republican National Convention in July. The delegate selection process was spread out over several days, in which delegates were elected at both the county and state level. All 13 state-level delegates were pledged to support Ted Cruz, and the remaining 21 from all over the state soon fell in line as well.
“If we continue to stand here united, we are going to win this Republican election,” Cruz said according to Roll Call. “If we continue to stand united, we are going to win the general election, we’re going to win the state of Colorado, we are going to beat Hillary Clinton and we are going to turn this country around.”
The Texas Senator’s 20-minute talk was the first time a Republican presidential candidate had addressed the GOP assembly in Colorado since Ronald Reagan in 1976.
Colorado Public Radio said that organization and agitation were key to Cruz’s victory.
“His supporters didn’t just have handpicked slates of delegates available at the assembly; they worked to it as easy as possible for convention-goers to know their names when it came time to vote. His volunteers made a splash in the convention crowd, wearing bright, Broncos-orange T-shirts with the names of their delegate slate on the back. The blaze orange seemed to be the new red for Republicans — several campaigns had their volunteers in the Broncos’ color this weekend.”
The results of the Colorado assembly make it more difficult for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to win enough delegates to ensure his nomination. Trump managed to win over only nine of the 34 alternate delegates. Though Trump still has a lead in delegate count, the recent string of Cruz victories means there’s a chance for a brokered convention in July if Trump can’t get the delegates to win the nomination outright.
Trump blasted rival Cruz’s victory as “totally unfair” according to The Denver Post, saying that voters in Colorado were being excluded from the democratic process.
Trump also took to his Twitter account to express his frustration, claiming the people of Colorado “had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians.”
Earlier, he also posted a tweet saying, “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger — totally unfair!”
The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2016
State Republican Party Chairman Steve House told The Denver Post in August of last year that the party’s executive committee unanimously came to the decision to allow Colorado delegates to support any eligible candidate for the Republican National Convention, scheduled to take place in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18–21.
Colorado Democrats will meet on April 16 to choose their delegation for the national convention, which is expected to bring out tensions between the supporters of candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, especially in the wake of Sanders’ win in neighboring Wyoming.
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