Ted Cruz Archives - Page 7 of 52 - SaintPetersBlog

Donald Trump bristles at Ted Cruz-John Kasich collaboration

Donald Trump says an extraordinary collaboration between Ted Cruz and John Kasich aimed at unifying the anti-Trump vote in some remaining primaries is a desperate move by “mathematically dead” rivals.

Such collusion would be illegal in many industries, the Republican presidential front-runner said, but it’s illustrative of “everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system.”

Under the arrangement outlined Sunday, Kasich, the Ohio governor, will step back in the May 3 Indiana contest to let Cruz bid for voters who don’t like Trump. Cruz, a Texas senator, will do the same for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico.

The arrangement does not address the five Northeastern states set to vote Tuesday, where Trump is expected to add to his already overwhelming delegate lead. Yet the shift offers increasingly desperate Trump foes a glimmer of hope in their long and frustrating fight to halt the billionaire’s rise.

Trump said in a statement the Cruz-Kasich compact joins two “puppets of donors and special interests” who have no path to the nomination.

Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said in a statement explaining the new plans that Trump would be soundly defeated by the Democratic nominee, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. “Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans,” he said.

Added Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, “Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee.”

The announcement marks a sharp reversal for Cruz’s team, which aggressively opposed coordinating anti-Trump efforts with Kasich as recently as late last week. And the agreement applies only to Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico — three of the 15 states remaining on the Republican primary calendar. As Kasich backs out of Indiana, Cruz promised he would not compete in Oregon on May 17 and New Mexico on June 7.

Trump campaigned Sunday in Maryland, which will vote on Tuesday along with Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Speaking to several thousand people in an airplane hangar in Hagerstown, Maryland, Sunday evening, Trump stressed repeatedly that he expects to win the 1,237 delegates needed in the first round of voting in Cleveland to stave off a contested convention.

“I only care about the first,” he said. “We’re not going for the second and third and fourth and fifth.”

As recently as three days ago Kasich’s campaign announced investments in Indiana, including the opening of two offices and the creation of a campaign leadership team. His campaign on Sunday night canceled a town-hall meeting and gathering in Indianapolis scheduled to watch the results of Tuesday’s primaries.

Both campaigns encouraged allied super PACs and other outside groups to “honor the commitments.”

On the Democratic side Sunday, underdog Sanders rallied thousands of voters in two New England states and offered mixed signals on how hard he would push his differences with the commanding front-runner, Clinton.

The Vermont senator largely steered clear of Clinton at a Rhode Island park, but hours later delivered a sharp critique before more than 14,000 supporters in New Haven, Connecticut. Sanders reiterated his call for Clinton to release transcripts of lucrative Wall Street speeches she delivered after leaving the State Department in early 2013.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


Fox’s Sean Hannity at center of bitter campaign competition

Sean Hannity is getting a bruising reminder that this year’s presidential campaign defies traditional political rules.

The Fox News Channel and radio host had a nasty spat with Sen. Ted Cruz this past week, following criticism from both the left and right about his interviews with Donald Trump. Fox also aired the odd spectacle of Hannity sitting onstage with Trump as an audience booed lustily at the mention of Fox colleague Megyn Kelly‘s name.

In an election year when cable news networks are enjoying a bump in viewership, Hannity is a key man for Fox, and his audience is growing more quickly than Kelly’s and Bill O’Reilly‘s. They precede Hannity in Fox’s prime-time lineup.

Fox declined to make Hannity available for an interview for this story.

Hannity’s relationship with Trump became an issue when the liberal website Thinkprogress.org published a story that wondered how Hannity had been able to interview Trump so much without making news, and quoted exchanges that depicted a friendly relationship.

Trump had been a guest on Hannity’s Fox show 32 times before last week’s town hall in Pittsburgh, according to the host’s records.

Hannity has said on his radio show that he does not support one Republican over another.

The attack didn’t seem to surprise Hannity, who noted the website’s ties to Hillary Clinton supporters. The story, however, was picked up and amplified by the conservative, anti-Trump website Redstate.com.

During Hannity’s recent Trump interview, he pressed for specifics on how the candidate would help people economically in that part of the country and how his Mideast policies would differ from President Barack Obama‘s.

About Trump’s claims that some delegates were being snatched, Hannity said, “Clearly there are people who want to circumvent and disenfranchise the voters. What do you say to them?”

He asked him to detail Clinton’s weaknesses, and there was an uncomfortable moment where he asked Trump to reveal what unflattering nickname he would try to stick on Clinton like he did with “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz.

Trump wouldn’t say, but promised Hannity he’d be the first to know.

By Hannity’s count, Cruz had appeared on his television show 34 times since Cruz announced his candidacy. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, still in the race, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is not, had been on the show 20 times, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another dropout, making 19 appearances.

On his radio show, through last week, Cruz had logged more interview time than any other candidate — more than 188 minutes on the air. Trump’s 112 minutes were third behind Rubio.

“I’m just going to remain neutral and give you access to the candidates, because no one else is doing it,” Hannity said. “At the end of the day, if it’s Cruz or Trump who is the nominee, I’m going to support them because it would be a disaster if Hillary Clinton becomes president.”

When Cruz this past week seemingly made a reference to Hannity’s critics in a radio interview, the host flashed annoyance.

After Cruz called a Hannity question about the fight for delegates part of a silly media obsession, Hannity pressed the point.

“The only people asking this are the hard-core Donald Trump supporters,” Cruz said.

“You’ve got to stop,” Hannity replied. “Every time I have you on the air and I ask you a legitimate question, you throw this in my face, and I’m getting sick of it. I’ve had you on the air more than any other candidate.”

The unabashed conservative makes no secret of his views, and he appeals to a like-minded audience.

In last week’s Trump interview, when Hannity asked about the candidate’s private meeting at Trump Tower with Kelly on April 13, the pro-Trump crowd booed at the mention of her name. Kelly has come under constant criticism from Trump since she asked him a question he didn’t like last summer.

Neither man spoke about the audience’s reaction. Trump smiled. Hannity, who was largely off camera, appeared to make a “stop” motion with his arms.

It was an audible manifestation of a delicate problem for Fox.

Kelly, Fox’s brightest new star, has come under relentless criticism from Trump, and many Hannity fans are siding with the GOP front-runner instead of the network long loved by Republican viewers.

Given that Trump seems to feel comfortable on Hannity’s show, the veteran talk show host is an important asset for Fox in a combustible campaign.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Ted Cruz, likable guy? He’s working on that

After spending a year campaigning as a hardened, uncompromising conservative, Ted Cruz wants voters to see him in a different light.

Cruz’s presidential campaign is embarking on a concerted effort to highlight a more affable version of the fiery Texas Republican. He’s started working the late night talk show circuit, a new forum for the senator, and his wife, Heidi, has also been appearing more often on national TV to present him as a likable figure.

Cruz’s two young daughters, who have already provided occasional comic relief to their dad’s campaign, will be joining the senator on the road frequently. And his team is looking for more opportunities to put Cruz in fun, laid-back settings, like when he joined kids for a matzo-making lesson in New York.

“It’s important for us to show him in more of a lighthearted venue,” said Alice Stewart, Cruz’s communications director. She conceded that voters want more than just a candidate they agree with on policy, adding, “It’s not a secret that voters will vote for someone they like.”

The lengths Cruz has to go in boosting his standing with voters were starkly evident in a focus group of Republican women this week in Pittsburgh. When the women were asked what they knew about Cruz, several described him as “untrustworthy” or a “liar.” GOP front-runner Donald Trump has spent weeks assailing Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

And when focus group participants were asked what animal best described Cruz, some said a “mosquito” or a “hornet.”

“You just want to bat it away,” one woman said. The session was organized by Public Opinion Strategies and Purple Strategies as part of the “Wal-Mart Moms” series that focuses on female voters.

Cruz allies say the senator is warmer than he’s given credit for, particularly in private moments. Rep. Reid Ribble, a Wisconsin Republican who backs Cruz, recalled seeing the candidate playing tag with his daughters backstage before a campaign stop earlier this month.

“I remember thinking to myself as I watched him play with his kids, ‘That’s the Cruz America needs to see,'” Ribble said. “The more people can see the humanity of any candidate, the better.”

The campaign’s emphasis on Cruz’s persona comes as the senator fights for any possible advantage in his Republican primary fight with Trump. Cruz has no mathematical chance of winning the nomination through the regular voting and is counting entirely on overtaking Trump at a contested convention.

Cruz’s campaign has demonstrated impressive deftness in working the convention delegate process. But many party insiders view Cruz with skepticism — his reputation in Washington is that of a self-serving opportunist — and his standing with the public is only a bit better.

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that only 26 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Cruz, while 59 percent were unfavorable. Perhaps the only solace for Cruz is that Trump’s numbers are even worse — 69 percent of Americans view him unfavorably as do 46 percent of Republicans.

Cruz’s campaign knows that in order to boost his numbers, he needs to reach out to Americans beyond those who listen to conservative talk radio and know the senator from his fights with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, including his 21-hour filibuster against President Barack Obama‘s health care law that resulted in a government shutdown.

In that effort, Cruz’s campaign sees Obama as someone to emulate. The president has consistently had high personal favorability ratings and mastered the art of courting Americans outside the political arena.

Stewart from the Cruz campaign said Obama “may not have checked all the boxes for a candidate in terms of record and accomplishments, but voters liked him.” Cruz this week even parroted Obama’s famous “yes we can” campaign slogan, adopting “yes we will” as his promise to fulfill his campaign pledges.

Before the New York primary, Cruz made the rounds of the late-night talk show circuit for the first time, appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the “Tonight” show.

Cruz is also doing more public events with his wife and daughters.

During a CNN town-hall interview, Cruz talked about a recent class picnic where 8-year-old Caroline “got to dress up daddy” in a pink boa and “big goofy-looking underwear.”

“It was on a videotape the whole time,” Caroline continued.

“Uh oh,” Cruz said, trying to smile.

“And now it’s a class video that they’re sending out to all the parents,” she said as her mom and the audience burst into laughter.

Cruz quickly tried to change the subject.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump voices opposition to transgender bathroom law

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they choose, voicing opposition to part of a far-reaching North Carolina law that critics says is discriminatory.

Speaking at a town hall event on NBC’s “Today” Thursday, Trump was asked about North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom law,” which, among other things, requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in state government buildings as well as public schools and universities.

Trump said the law had caused unnecessary strife for the state, which he said had paid “a big price” economically.

“There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” said Trump. “There has been so little trouble.”

Trump’s main rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, immediately fired back, saying that Trump is giving in to “political correctness.”

“Grown adult men, strangers, should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls,” Cruz said, calling his view “basic common sense.”

After the law was signed in late March, Deutsche Bank halted plans to add 250 North Carolina jobs, while PayPal reversed a decision to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte. Local tourism boards have also said they’ve lost millions of dollars thanks to cancelled conventions and business meetings.

The comments came as Trump drew closer to clinching the Republican nomination with a big win in his home state of New York earlier this week. If he becomes his party’s nominee, Trump is likely to face pressure to moderate some of his stances to appeal to independents and women in the general election.

Trump said at the town hall that he didn’t know if any transgender people work for his organization, but said that some “probably” did. Asked about Caitlyn Jenner, an Olympic gold medal winner then-known as Bruce Jenner, walking into Trump Tower using the bathroom, he said would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses.

Still, Trump said he’s opposed to efforts to create new, transgender bathrooms alongside single gendered ones, calling that push “discriminatory in a certain way” and “unbelievably expensive for businesses and the country.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Fight for GOP presidential nomination shifts to seaside luxury resort in south Florida

The messy fight for the Republican presidential nomination is shifting to a luxury seaside resort in south Florida as Donald Trump and chief rival Ted Cruz quietly court party leaders ahead of another set of high-stakes delegate contests.

Cruz conceded publicly for the first time that he doesn’t have enough support to claim the nomination before the party’s summertime national convention, but he also vowed Wednesday to block Trump from collecting the necessary delegates as well. The Texas conservative predicted a contested convention that many party loyalists fear could trigger an all-out Republican civil war.

“What’s clear today is that we are headed to a contested convention,” Cruz told reporters in between private meetings with Republican National Committee members gathered at the Diplomat Resort & Spa for the first day of their three-day annual spring meeting.

Campaigning in Indiana, Trump railed against his party’s leadership, even as his senior lieutenants courted GOP officials behind closed doors in Florida.

“It’s a rigged, crooked system that’s designed so that the bosses can pick whoever they want and that people like me can’t run and can’t defend you against foreign nonsense,” Trump charged at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Roughly at the same time, Trump’s newly hired political director, Rick Wiley, was hosting a series of private meetings at the Florida resort with party officials from states set to vote in the coming weeks. The veteran political operative, who previously worked for the RNC, is tasked with helping Trump play catch-up in the complicated state-by-state nomination process.

Trump’s top aides were set to deliver a private briefing to RNC members Thursday afternoon outlining his path to victory.

Both Trump and the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, were pushing ahead toward Northeast primaries on an increasingly direct path to party nominations after trouncing their challengers Tuesday in New York.

Clinton, now 81 percent of the way toward clinching the Democratic nomination that eluded her eight years ago, can lose every remaining contest and still prevail. Advisers to rival Bernie Sanders offered no signs of the Vermont senator giving up before the Democrats’ Philadelphia convention.

Trump is increasingly optimistic about his chances in five states set to vote on Tuesday: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. He is now the only Republican candidate who can possibly collect the 1,237 delegate majority needed to claim the nomination before the party’s July convention. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have been mathematically eliminated, yet both contend they can win the nomination at the convention.

Despite getting shut out of the delegate race in New York, Cruz is aggressively courting delegates across the nation who could hold great sway at the convention.

Of a convention fight, Cruz said: “I believe we will have a tremendous advantage in that battle.”

The side-by-side GOP efforts at this late stage — with Trump amassing primary victories while Cruz digs for the support of delegates who could settle the nomination — are unprecedented in recent presidential campaigns and add to the deeply uncertain nature of the race.

While the primary campaign is a focus of the RNC meeting, party leaders are painfully aware that any changes in the nomination process could fuel Trump’s charges of an unfair system. Party chairman Reince Priebus has discouraged any rule changes this week.

Priebus believes the convention rules should be left to the separate rules committee elected at the convention, made up of delegates being elected to seats across the country, said RNC senior strategist Sean Spicer.

“The chairman’s view is that the rules of the convention should be set by the delegates, by the grassroots Republican voters,” Spicer said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Today on Context Florida: The Republican problem, Rick Scott & the environment, unfairness in politics and Key West parking

Today on Context Florida:

As a preacher’s kid who grew up in the South, Jac VerSteeg values politeness. It is a given that, when you encounter a governor in a coffee shop, you do not yell, “You are an a**hole!” Nevertheless, Cara Jennings’ crude outburst in a Gainesville Starbucks provides an insight that if taken to heart might benefit the Republican Party, whose presidential frontrunners are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The party has an a**hole problem.

Diane Roberts asks if you wonder what will be left of natural Florida when Rick Scott slithers out of the Governor’s Mansion for the last time? Not all of our environmental degradation happened on Scott’s watch. Previous governors have had a hand in it, too. Yes, he signed off on $200 million for the Everglades this year. Hooray. But Roberts also notes that Scott fought measurable clean water standards, siding with polluters at every turn. In 2015, he refused to support buying the U.S. Sugar land — land Big Shug now may want to develop — that would have gone a long way toward restoring the River of Grass.

Ben Pollara is not a big fan of sports metaphors or former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but both can be used to demonstrate the inanity and intellectual dishonesty driving the cries of unfairness coming out of the campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both are pushing similar messages about their respective parties’ nominating and delegate allocation processes, and those messages are either dishonest or demonstrate ignorance of said processes. Or both, Pollara supposes.

For Linda Cunningham, the most popular tourist game in Key West these days is searching for that single, illusive parking spot. Top down on the signature rented orange Camaro, there they go around the block, the one riding shotgun pointing to, oops, not that one. If locals talk ceaselessly about traffic, they can come to blows over parking spaces. If your house comes with an off-street parking space, you can expect it to add $10,000 to the selling price.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.


GOPer: Rules change would prevent ‘dictatorial’ convention

A member of the Republican National Committee trying to revamp GOP rules for nominating a presidential candidate says without the change, party leaders could exert “almost dictatorial power” at this July’s nominating convention.

The criticisms by Solomon Yue, RNC committeeman from Oregon, were the latest broadside in an internal GOP battle over the rules that will help decide the party’s standard-bearer for the White House. The comments, included in an email he sent Monday that was obtained by The Associated Press, come two days before party leaders gather in Hollywood, Florida, to discuss whether to propose changing bylaws for the convention.

The fight pits Yue and some allies against GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and other top party officials. It underscores the high stakes as the convention in Cleveland, Ohio, looms as the first in four decades that may begin without a presumptive presidential candidate.

The RNC said Monday that Priebus will oppose any effort to change the convention’s rules at this week’s Florida RNC meeting. The RNC can recommend convention bylaws, but only the convention’s 2,472 delegates can adopt them.

Priebus believes “the rules of the convention should be decided by the delegates elected by Republican grassroots voters,” the RNC said in a statement.

With Priebus and other top party officials arrayed against him, Yue could face an uphill battle.

Henry Barbour, RNC committeeman from Mississippi, said he sees little support for “a change three months before what would be the first open convention in 40 years. Nobody wants to look like they’re trying to give an advantage to one candidate or another.”

Yue wants the convention to use Roberts Rules of Order, which would let delegates block the convention’s presiding officer from allowing the nomination of fresh candidates for president. GOP conventions have long used House of Representatives’ rules, which give the presiding officer more unfettered power to run each day’s session.

“I believe in democracy and majority rule of the delegates and am concerned that almost dictatorial power the House rules give the chairman of the convention will lead to confusion, chaos, manipulation and revolt at the convention,” said Yue’s email, which he sent his 55 colleagues on the RNC’s rules committee.

Yue wrote that Oregon Republicans want him to “stop the D.C. establishment from parachuting in their favorite candidate as a ‘fresh face’ into the convention.” He said the party is in “a period of mistrust.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to be the convention’s presiding officer. He has said he wouldn’t accept the presidential nomination, but others have held out hope that he or another fresh candidate could emerge as the candidate.

Many in the party want businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the leading contenders, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who trails, to be allowed to battle it out without facing a new rival who’s not run for president this year.

In an interview, Yue declined to predict whether he would prevail when the GOP’s rules committee considers his proposal this week. He said if his plan is rejected, he will push for its approval by the full RNC and then at the July convention, where he said he believes the delegates will look more favorably at it.

“The anger is from outside the party, the grassroots,” Yue said. “They don’t want to see the chairman of the convention get absolute power.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

How Donald Trump can lock up GOP nomination before the convention

To all the political junkies yearning for a contested Republican convention this summer: not so fast.

It’s still possible for Donald Trump to clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7. His path is narrow and perilous. But it’s plausible and starts with a big victory Tuesday in his home state New York primary.

Trump is the only candidate with a realistic chance of reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the July convention in Cleveland. His rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, can only hope to stop him.

 If Cruz and Kasich are successful, politicos across the country will have the summer of their dreams — a convention with an uncertain outcome. But Trump can put an end to those dreams, and he can do it without any of the 150 or so delegates who will go to the convention free to support the candidate of their choice.

What comes next isn’t a prediction, but rather, a way in which Trump could win the nomination outright on June 7.

To be sure, Trump will have to start doing a lot better than he has so far. He gets that chance starting Tuesday, beginning the day with 744 delegates.



There are 95 delegates at stake in the Empire State, and it’s important for Trump to win a big majority of them. It won’t be easy.

There are 14 statewide delegates and three delegates in each congressional district.

If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the statewide vote, he gets all 14 delegates. Otherwise, he has to share them with other candidates.

If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a congressional district, he gets all three delegates. Otherwise, again, he has to share.

Trump leads statewide in the most recent preference polls, with right around 50 percent. New York is a large and diverse state, so he probably won’t win all the congressional districts.

Let’s say Trump does make it to 50 percent, but Kasich or Cruz wins five congressional districts; Trump will take 77 delegates on the night.

Trump’s running total: 821 delegates.



Five states have primaries on April 26, with 172 delegates at stake: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island.

Pennsylvania could be trouble for Trump. The state has a unique system in which 54 delegates — three from each congressional district — are listed by name on the ballot, with no information for voters to know which candidate they support.

That means even if Trump wins Pennsylvania, he’s only guaranteed to claim 17 of the state’s 71 delegates.

Connecticut awards 13 delegates to the statewide winner and three to the winner of each congressional district, for a total of 28. The New York real estate mogul needs to win his neighboring state. If he does well, he could get 22 delegates.

Delaware’s 16 delegates are winner-take-all, increasing the importance of this small state. If Trump loses Delaware, he has to make it up elsewhere.

Maryland awards 14 delegates to the statewide winner and three to the winner of each congressional district, for a total of 38. Recent polls show Trump with a significant lead. If he does well, he could get 32 delegates.

Trump can afford to lose Rhode Island, which awards its 19 delegates proportionally.

In all, it’s a day on which we’ll say Trump claims 93 delegates.

Trump’s running total: 914.



Five states hold contests in May, with a total of 199 delegates at stake: Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon and Washington State.

Indiana’s May 3 primary is important for Trump. The state awards 30 delegates to the statewide winner and three delegates to the winner of each congressional district, for a total of 57. If Trump can win the state and a majority of the congressional districts, he could collect 45 delegates.

West Virginia is another unique state in which voters elect 31 delegates in the May 10 primary. In West Virginia, however, the delegates will be listed on the ballot along with the presidential candidate they support. If Trump does well here, he could pick up 20 or more delegates.

Nebraska’s 36 delegates are winner-take-all. But if Nebraska is like its neighbors Kansas and Iowa, two states Cruz won earlier in the race, Trump can’t count on these delegates.

Oregon and Washington state award delegates proportionally, so even the losers get some.

We’ll give Trump 70 delegates for the month.

Trump’s running total: 984.



This could be Trump’s D-Day. Or his Waterloo.

Five states vote on June 7, with 303 delegates up for grabs. The biggest prize is California, along with New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and New Mexico.

The only state Trump can afford to lose is New Mexico, which awards 24 delegates proportionally.

New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana are winner-take-all, with a total of 107 delegates.

California is more complicated, with 172 delegates at stake. The statewide winner gets only 13. The other 159 are awarded according to the results in individual congressional districts.

Each of the state’s 53 congressional districts has three delegates. You win the district, you get all three.

For Trump to clinch the nomination on June 7 — the last day of the primary season — he has to win a big majority of California’s congressional districts. If he wins 39 districts, he gets 130 delegates.

On the last voting day of the primary campaign, we’ll say Trump wins 242 delegates.

Trump’s running total: 1,226 — or 11 delegates short of the magic number.



Missouri has certified the results of its March 15 primary, with Trump beating Cruz by 1,965 votes. If the results survive a potential recount, Trump wins Missouri and another 12 delegates.

Trump’s total: 1,238.

Cue the balloons.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Ted Cruz outmaneuvering Donald Trump in battle for Marco Rubio delegates

Marco Rubio won Minnesota decisively March 1, but the 17 delegates he was awarded are now up for grabs, free to vote for any candidate they like on a first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

In a hotly contested Republican primary that looks increasingly likely to culminate in a contested convention this summer, those delegates will be critical. The battle for them is essentially throwing states such as Minnesota, which have already held their nominating contests, back into play as they elect delegates at state conventions.

And Ted Cruz’s campaign, which has run circles around Donald Trump’s in the behind-the-scenes battle to elect friendly delegates from states that aren’t holding primaries or caucuses, is also a step ahead in the fight for the Rubio delegates who will be free to give him an extra boost on a first ballot at the convention.

Minnesota hasn’t elected its delegates yet, but the state’s Republican-party chairman, Keith Downey, is already steeling himself for blowback from Trump supporters if and when Cruz emerges from his state with the lion’s share of the delegates.

“If somebody didn’t educate themselves on that process, or they weren’t very good at working through that process, so be it,” he says. “That’s life, and that’s politics.”

Of the 171 delegates Rubio won before dropping out of the race, the 17 he took home in Minnesota, the 12 in Oklahoma, and the two he picked up in New Hampshire are now free agents. In Minnesota and Oklahoma, Rubio’s delegates are obligated only to cast a ballot for him if he is formally nominated, while in New Hampshire they’re entirely unbound.

“Our state rules say if someone is not on the ballot, they are free to vote for whomever they choose,” Oklahoma Republican Party chairwoman Pam Pollard told NBC News.

Cruz won Oklahoma handily March 1, but Rubio also received 12 delegates for his third-place showing. A Cruz campaign aide says the team has mounted a “very aggressive effort” to win over delegates in every state, including Minnesota and Oklahoma.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about its efforts on the ground in the two states.  Since both Minnesota and Oklahoma have yet to choose their delegates, they offer the campaigns fertile ground to rack up new supporters.

Cruz is taking advantage of the opportunity. Jeff Johnson, who served as Rubio’s campaign manager in Minnesota but has since endorsed Cruz, says that much of Rubio’s organization in the state has mobilized behind Cruz, helping his campaign as it works to woo delegate candidates. “That organization is still in place, we’re just kind of adding to it,” he says of Rubio’s infrastructure in the state. “We’re joining.”

The elaborate process will benefit campaigns that have extensive, well-established statewide organizations — organizations that several state Republican officials say only the Cruz campaign possesses. Minnesota Republican Party officials say the Cruz campaign is working to win over delegates, with a particular focus on those who are unbound. “There have been a number of people, either via email or at [local] conventions, campaigning specifically to be a national Cruz delegate,” says Chris Tiedeman, the state’s Republican national committeeman.

“And there have been a number of them going to other conventions, other than their own local convention, to start campaigning for those spots now.”

As it was in Colorado and North Dakota, which both elected unbound slates of delegates favorable to Cruz after forgoing primaries and caucuses entirely, it appears that the Trump campaign is being outmaneuvered on the ground in Oklahoma and Minnesota.

Several Minnesota Republican Party officials say they don’t know who is leading the pro-Trump effort in their state, and Tiedeman says there’s little to suggest the real-estate mogul is doing anything to secure unbound delegates there. “That doesn’t mean it’s not happening, but I haven’t seen it anywhere I’ve been,” he says. “And I’ve been out and about quite a bit.”

There’s a small chance Rubio could bind Minnesota and Oklahoma delegates to him on a first ballot — that is, in the unlikely event his name appears on the ballot. But even if one assumes that the RNC’s Rule 40(b) is amended to place Rubio in contention, Rubio supporters say it’s still unlikely he will appear on the ballot. (The rules currently require a candidate to secure a petition featuring the signature of a majority of the delegates from eight states in order to be nominated, and Rubio won only four states and territories.)

That’s because collecting the signatures of a majority of the delegates in the required number of states would take a strong, organized effort on the ground in Cleveland, and Rubio is unlikely to pull it off.

According to one longtime RNC member, “Just because you won a state doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have enough people in that delegate slate signing your petition. It’s a matter of high panic even when you’re Mitt Romney or George W. Bush.” It’s simply not something a non-candidate such as Rubio will do, he says, because, “Getting the petitions is still a pain in the ass and an uncertain prospect.” “It’s not going to happen,” says Johnson, Rubio’s Minnesota campaign chairman.

Rubio himself tipped his hand for the first time this week about which candidate he’d like to see win the nomination. Though he stopped short of an official endorsement, he told radio talk-show host Mark Levin Tuesday that he wants a conservative nominee and that Cruz is the only candidate left who “fits the criteria.”

In a nail-biter, his delegates may help deliver Cruz the prize.

Via the National Journal.

GOP official rails over effort aimed at nomination rules

In an extraordinary display of internal discord, the chairman of the Republican Party’s rules committee accused top GOP officials Saturday of “a breach of our trust” by improperly trying to impede a proposed change in bylaws that would make it harder for party leaders to nominate a fresh candidate for president.

Bruce Ash, RNC committeeman from Arizona, wrote the harshly worded email to the other 55 members of the GOP rules committee that he chairs. The confidential email, obtained by The Associated Press, was written days before party officials gather in Hollywood, Florida, for preliminary discussions about what rules the GOP will use at its presidential nominating convention this July.

Ash wrote the note at a time when some top Republicans consider the party’s two leading presidential contenders, billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, to be likely November election losers and have discussed how to replace them with alternatives at the summer convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It is possible that no contenders will have the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at that gathering, which would produce the first GOP convention without a presumptive nominee since 1976.

Trump has bitterly clashed with party leaders over rules that he claims have been rigged against him, a charge party leaders deny.

Ash said he has “become troubled” during discussions with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other party officials that by not making the proposed change, GOP officials “could use their power to attempt to achieve a political result” at the nominating convention.

He said the convention’s presiding officer could use existing rules to “unilaterally reopen nominations to allow a candidate to be nominated that is viewed as more acceptable, which is exactly what so many rank-and-file Republicans across America fear.”

His email did not mention that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to be presiding officer for much of the convention. Some opponents of Trump and Cruz have suggested that Ryan, his party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, would be a preferable presidential nominee this year, but Ryan has said he doesn’t want to be tabbed.

In an email sent hours later, RNC chief counsel John Ryder said the controversial amendment would, in fact, be included among the items given priority consideration when party officials discuss convention rules this week in Florida.

But echoing the view of Priebus and some other Republicans on the party’s rules committee, Ryder added, “Major changes now are dangerous and not a good idea, in my humble opinion.”

Many Republican leaders have said party officials should not change current convention rules for fear of being accused by the competing presidential candidates of tilting the bylaws to influence the outcome. They have noted that the final decisions on the rules will be made anyway by the convention’s 2,472 delegates, probably on July 18, the gathering’s first day.

When Republicans meet in Florida next week to discuss their rules, Oregon RNC committeeman Solomon Yue wants to propose not running full convention meetings under the rules of the House of Representatives, a long tradition. Instead, Yue wants to use Roberts Rules of Order.

Yue and others say under the Roberts rules, it would be easier for the convention’s delegates to vote to block an effort by the convention’s presiding officer to consider new nominees for president. Under House rules, the presiding officer has more power to make decisions about the proceedings.

Ash said RNC officials have repeatedly asked him and Yue to withdraw Yue’s proposal or even to cancel this week’s GOP rules committee meeting. Ash said he refused.

He said that last Thursday, Ryder “convened a rules committee whip call to strategize against and led the opposition to the Yue amendment at the chairman’s request.”

He said during that call, RNC officials acknowledged that Yue’s amendment had been “pre-submitted” by a deadline that would give it priority treatment his week. But the next afternoon, Ash said, the RNC sent an email “incorrectly stating” that Yue’s proposed amendment had not been submitted in time to be included in the agenda for next week’s meeting. That would deprive it of priority consideration.

“In view of the above, I consider this to be a breach of our trust,” Ash wrote.

He added, “In light of this breach and an apparent unwillingness to conduct a proper debate on the amendment, is it prudent for the RNC to continue to give the extraordinary power of the House rules to the presiding officer of the convention, as opposed to the more transparent, democratic and majoritarian rules in Roberts?”

Ryder wrote that party officials thought they were following Yue’s desire to circulate his amendment to delegates early next week, even though Yue submitted his proposal in time for the earlier “pre-submission deadline.”

“Of course, we wouldn’t have left out Mr. Yue’s amendment from the notice if we thought he wanted it included,” Ryder wrote.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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