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Eye On Candidates
April 27, 2016

Delegate battle favors Cruz over Trump

Much has been made of late over the battle for delegates being waged between businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Politico updates the story and suggests that even as Cruz has been winning the behind-the-scenes contest for delegates, he is likely to do even better in future weeks:

The parallel universe where Cruz is beating Trump

Donald Trump has earned more than 9 million votes in the Republican primary and amassed a lead that puts him on the brink of clinching the GOP nomination. But in the shadow contest for the delegates to a contested national convention, he’s getting obliterated by Ted Cruz.

It’s halftime in the hustle for loyal convention delegates. By the weekend, more than 1,300 will have been elected in county, state or congressional district elections or selected by local Republican leaders. So far, Cruz has consistently dominated these contests, securing slots for hundreds of loyalists to the convention in Cleveland in July. Trump, on the other hand, has consistently flopped.

A Politico analysis suggests the mogul is headed for an even rougher second half, limiting his opportunities to survive a contested convention and dramatically raising the stakes of his quest to secure the nomination outright.

The article examines the upcoming delegate contests in several states, which generally support the idea that Cruz is in position to improve his advantage:

Texas GOP insiders say their home state senator is positioned to sweep the state’s enormous delegate haul. “I’d be very surprised if 155 out of the 155 weren’t for Cruz,” said Steve Munisteri, a former state party chairman who is unaligned. “I just don’t see how he doesn’t win all the delegates.”

In Missouri — a state Trump narrowly won — Cruz is poised to dominate local and state-level contests for 49 delegates. Insiders there say six of the state’s eight congressional districts, which award three delegates apiece, are tilted toward Cruz.

And Cruz isn't the only one doing better at delegate elections than in primaries, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also getting a boost:

In Illinois, GOP sources close to the delegate process tell Politico that John Kasich supporters are most likely to dominate the 12 statewide delegate slots, even though they’ll be pledged to Trump on a first ballot. Those slots typically go to elected officials, party loyalists and donors. “There is a historical deference. People have to understand, for statewide officeholders there has been a historical preference given, but that has not been determined,” said Jack Dorgan, who is heading up the committee that will recommend the at-large delegates to the full convention in Peoria.

There's a strong likelihood that many delegates pledged to Trump on the first ballot may move to support Cruz, Kasich, or even some other candidate on subsequent ballots. If that happens, expect more complaints about a "rigged" contest that in reality simply reflects the complexity of winning the Republican Party's nomination and a campaign that simply didn't understand the process.