Donald Trump may have retroactively lost his Georgia delegate lead to Ted Cruz, even after scoring a decisive victory in the state primary on March 7.
Individual congressional districts met Saturday to select the 43 of the 76 delegates that would be going on to the Republican convention in Ohio at the end of July. Each of the 14 conventions picks three delegates and three alternates.
Despite Donald’s advantage in votes, Ted’s supporters now appear to make up the majority of Georgia’s representation going on to the state convention in Augusta. The real estate tycoon’s loyalists reacted angrily to the news, even grabbing the flag and carrying it out of one convention.
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) April 16, 2016
The Atlanta Journal Constitution detailed how this took place in Georgia’s 11th District, where Trump had originally won with 35 percent of the vote to Marco Rubio’s 30 percent and Cruz’s 23 percent.
“On paper, the convention’s task was to pick the two delegates awarded to Donald for his district victory, and one delegate for Rubio — who has suspended his campaign. In reality, after five hours, the convention sent two hardcore Ted supporters [and a neutral chairman] to Cleveland… The three will sign pledges to support Trump and Rubio in a first round of voting in Cleveland. Thereafter, their votes will be their own.”
— Politics News (@PoliticsNewz) April 16, 2016
Based on a letter sent out by Donald’s campaign, it appears that his Georgia team may have realized Cruz could end up walking away with some of their delegates this weekend. On Thursday, an e-mail encouraged Trump supporters to head to Saturday’s convention.
“Donald won Georgia by more than 14 points, almost 200,000 more votes than his next closest rival. He also carried 155 counties out of 159. Ted Cruz didn’t win a single county. Because of this landslide victory, Mr. Trump was awarded 42 delegates. We’re asking that the Republican officials honor his victory this Saturday with fair representation… If you are willing to attend one of these meetings this Saturday morning and show your support for Donald, please contact the volunteer coordinator nearest you.”
According to Atlanta Journal Constitution, that message from Trump came too late. The paper explained that those Georgia delegates who would actually have the power to vote for which delegates would go on to Cleveland were selected before Saturday.
“If you weren’t selected as a congressional convention delegate last month at the county-level meetings, you will have no standing at Saturday’s gatherings. Other than as a spectator… Moreover, in most congressional districts, the processing of applications to be a delegate in Cleveland is nearly over. For instance, in the 11th District, interviews for potential delegates were held on Saturday and Tuesday… More than likely, if you haven’t applied to be a delegate by now, you’re out of luck.”
Unsurprisingly, Donald’s team was shocked to see their lead disappear in front of them at the convention. Lori Pesta, Trump’s Cherokee County campaign chairman, said that this was partially due to voters choosing to select delegates slot-by-slot instead of by slate. Brian Jack, Trump’s national delegate director, told AJC that while his candidate did not perform poorly in all of Georgia, he would still be carrying out an investigation looking into voter suppression.
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) April 17, 2016
Apart from Donald Trump losing his Georgia primary delegate lead, Ted Cruz also picked up all of Wyoming’s 14 delegates on Saturday.
[Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images]