Y’all will recall that back in March, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump won the Arizona Republican primary, with 47% of the vote to second-place Ted Cruz’s 25%.
Then yesterday, at the state’s GOP convention, Cruz delegates won a majority of the 58 delegates — winning virtually all of the 28 at-large national delegates and roughly split the 27 elected at the congressional district level.
And that led many Trump supporters to cry foul and call for a re-vote.
Via Yahoo News:Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulled out a strategic victory at the Arizona Republican Party convention, nailing down a large majority of delegates to the national convention amid cheating accusations from backers of businessman Donald Trump.
The Cruz slate won virtually all of the 28 at-large national delegates and roughly split the 27 delegates selected by congressional district.
Former Gov. Jan Brewer, losing her first election in 35 years, angrily yelled “I got cheated — I got cheated,” as the results became known.
Breitbart and other outlets are reporting claims of “glitches and errors” in yesterday’s vote, though it’s unclear if these have been verified and if they were widespread.
But Cruz’s Arizona campaign organizer says simple math led to the at-large victory Saturday. Cruz offered a nearly identical slate of candidates as John Kasich backers, and the combined votes led to a win.
Anyone who has been involved in local GOP conventions knows that candidate campaigns often circulate a “slate” — a list of people they organize convention delegates to rally around and vote for. At my own local congressional district convention yesterday, that’s exactly what happened — and though a couple of delegates who weren’t on a slate did indeed get elected by the convention body, the majority elected were those on the slate. It’s one form of marketing and campaigning.
Even so, here’s why Trump supporters need not be so worried about what happened yesterday:
The victory was mainly strategic for Cruz since all 58 Arizona delegates are required to vote for Trump on the first national ballot because he won the state’s primary. There are three automatic delegates, including state party Chairman Robert Graham.
With Trump at nearly 1,000 national delegates out of 1,237 he needs to win the presidential nomination outright after recent sweeps of five eastern states, even Cruz’s Arizona backers believe Saturday’s effort is likely to be for naught.
“It’s most likely that Trump will be the next president, but I’m trying my hardest for it to be Cruz,” said state Rep. David Livingston, who is unabashedly backing Cruz.
State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who chairs Trump’s Arizona campaign, said a challenge is possible after calls for a revote were rejected by the party.
“The Trump campaign is very unhappy with the results,” DeWit told reporters. “We don’t feel that this was a fair process. The Trump button got checked more than any other, so why do we have so few delegates?”
Constantin Querard, Cruz’s Arizona campaign chair, countered: “They lost because of math, not because of malfeasance. If you take the people that want Cruz, and you add to them the people who don’t want Trump, that’s a majority in just about any room in America.”
Graham, the state party chairman, said the election was run fairly, and the Kasich-Cruz slates just combined to get the win.
Perhaps one of the biggest legacies of this 2016 campaign will be greater awareness among voters of how each party’s process works, down to the more nuts-and-bolts level. Whether you are in the camp that says what the Cruz campaign is doing at the convention level is a “good ground game” — or the camp that believes these strategies are disenfranchising those who voted in the primaries — greater awareness of the process can shine a light on areas for potential reform in the future.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]