A day after being trounced by Sen. Ted Cruz in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted the state party’s process for selecting national delegates and called into question the results.
“The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Moments earlier, he posted a tweet that asked: “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger — totally unfair!”
The Cruz campaign ran the table in Colorado, capturing all 34 delegates at a series of seven congressional district meetings this month and the state party convention Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Colorado GOP leaders canceled the party’s presidential straw pollin August to avoid binding its delegates to a candidate who may not survive until the Republican National Convention in July.
Instead, Republicans selected national delegates through the caucus process, a move that put the election of national delegates in the hands of party insiders and activists — leaving roughly 90 percent of the more than 1 million Republican voters on the sidelines.
The decision sparked significant controversy at the time and removed Colorado from the Republican primary map in the early stages of the campaign. But Cruz supporters worked quietly behind the scenes to build an organization to get like-minded Republicans to the March 1 precinct caucuses and capitalized on the Trump campaign’s failure to adapt to the system.
Trump’s campaign didn’t put a visible paid staffer on the ground in Colorado until last week, when it hired Patrick Davis, a Colorado Springs political consultant, to organize national delegate candidates at the 7th Congressional District convention in Arvada. By then, Cruz had won the first six delegates.
Even then, the energy behind Trump’s campaign didn’t materialize in support. He managed to win only seven alternate delegates.
The Trump campaign’s list of preferred national delegates distributed at the state convention on Saturday was riddled with errors and misspellings that only further hurt its chances.
The problems with Trump’s ballots — and the candidate’s comments — raise questions about whether Colorado will figure prominently into a challenge at the national convention about the state’s delegates.
Ahead of the state convention, a Trump campaign strategist said it made the strategic decision not to compete in Colorado because the caucus system favored party insiders.