Washington (AFP) – Republican Ted Cruz picked up more delegates in the race for the White House Saturday, winning all 14 that were up for grabs at his party’s state convention in Wyoming.
The sweep comes as the Texas senator is attempting to chip away at rival Donald Trump’s lead in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Thank you Wyoming!” Cruz tweeted after the victory in the western state.
“We had a tremendous show of grassroots support that resulted in a critical victory at today’s Wyoming Republican Convention,” he said in a statement.
“This is another step in our drive to win a majority of Republicans to be the nominee.”
Cruz was expected to do well in the conservative state because of a solid ground operation and because he had been campaigning there — unlike rival Trump, who has focused on delegate-rich New York primary on Tuesday.
Cruz told party members before they picked delegates that he expected a battle at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July to determine the nominee.
Cruz now has 553 delegates against 758 for Trump, according to CNN. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the party’s presidential nomination.
Trump, speaking ahead of the vote on Fox News, blasted “the rigged and boss controlled” Republican primaries that he says are stacked against him.
Party leaders in Wyoming however said that the rules were set long ago.
“Every presidential candidate for the last 40 years has managed this process and has worked through this process and has followed the process that we have in Wyoming,” state Republican Chairman Matt Micheli told Fox News.