Sen. Ted Cruz scooped up another 18 of his preferred delegates on Saturday in North Dakota, bringing the 2016 Republican presidential candidate’s weekend delegate haul to a tentative 24.
Cruz spent a portion of Saturday speaking to Republicans at the state party’s convention where 25 North Dakota Republican delegates were at stake. Dr. Ben Carson also spoke on Sunday at the convention on behalf of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. The state’s Republicans don’t vote in a traditional primary election or caucus. The delegates are rather chosen at the state convention.
The win is somewhat tentative due to the nature of Republican delegate selection in North Dakota. Delegates are not bound to one candidate and are not required to announce which candidate they plan on voting for before being designated as one of the 25 to vote on behalf of North Dakota Republicans at the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Members of the Committee on Permanent Organization work as the nominating group for the slate of 25 delegates to attend the Republican National Convention, according to the state party’s website.
Bette Grande organized the Cruz delegate suggestion list effort on the ground in her home of North Dakota, according to Politico. Team Cruz handed out a recommended list of delegates to those entering the convention venue on Sunday. The state party had released a list of their own 25 recommendations as well. Delegates listed for Cruz did express varying levels of commitment to the Texas senator. One, a fan of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, told Politico that he is supporting Cruz as the most viable alternative to Donald Trump. Another indicated a leaning toward Cruz. Another not listed on the Cruz team list also indicated a leaning toward the senator.
On Sunday, calls were made for delegates to announce allegiances formally, but a movement for such a revelation failed upon a vote.
Trump delegate strategist Brian Jack told Politico that his team is encouraged by the North Dakota results. He indicated belief that the delegation will ultimately give strong support for the Trump camp. Rep. Kevin Cramer endorsed Trump on Sunday and, leading up to the vote, worked to get loyal Trump delegates on the list. The GOP frontrunner’s team appears to be stepping up their game on the delegate strategy front as Cruz has been working with a strong delegate strategy for some time.
Republicans in Colorado’s 1st and 6th congressional districts elected three Cruz delegates each on Saturday and another 28 Colorado delegates will be selected in the coming week.
Cruz also traveled to California this past week. During his visit he met with over 100 delegates slated to support him even if a potential contested convention goes on to multiple votes before selecting an official Republican Party candidate for president. California Republicans will head to the polls to make their choice for the Republican nomination on June 7.
Wisconsin hold its Republican contest this coming Tuesday, with Cruz surging in recent Fox and Marquette Law School polls. Marquette’s February poll put Trump well ahead of Cruz, but the March poll showed Cruz jumping 21 points and solidly into the lead ahead of both Trump and Kasich. Both Trump and Cruz are campaigning hard in the Badger State ahead of the Tuesday nominating contest.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.