In an interview with 9KUSA’s Brandon Rittiman for the weekend Balance of Power show
, I pointed out how ironic it was that Colorado Republicans who got no attention from presidential candidates at the March 1 party caucuses may now see one or more candidates before their April party conventions. Colorado’s unpledged delegates join a handful of other states that did not hold primaries or preference polls at caucuses. Delegates and their preferences (pledged or unpledged, and if pledged, to whom) will be declared during the next two weeks.
Analyses of Republican Party delegates going to the April 8 and 9 congressional district and state convention indicate Ted Cruz has a lead among the approximate third of the delegates that have pledged. He has 22 percent to Donald Trump’s ten percent. John Kasich is not a factor with one percent and others who have dropped out of the race have three percent.
Why does Cruz have an advantage in Colorado?
- Cruz has been winning small caucus turnout states in the West. He won Utah, Idaho and Wyoming (they had preference polls). The smaller turnout electorate is more conservative.
- The lack of a Colorado preference poll helped Cruz because it reduced attention that could have attracted Donald Trump’s newer, less frequent party participants.
- Cruz is now unifying the conservative and establishment wings of the party. These are the two groups in Colorado that have been the most influential. Four years ago, Rick Santorum, the religious conservative, and Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate, were a close one and two in the caucus results.
- Cruz has been more prepared longer for the battle in each state to identify, recruit and place delegates. Trump has just stepped up his delegate hunt effort.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to stop Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates before the convention and then being ready to win on a second or later ballot when pledged delegates are mostly free to vote their preference. Colorado has 37 delegates, with about 27 unpledged as of today. Having such a larger number of Cruz and unpledged delegates may make Colorado a major factor in creating a contested convention.
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