COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz continued his Colorado winning streak Friday, locking up the support of 21 total delegates to the Republican National Convention, representing a majority of the delegates Colorado will send to Cleveland in July.
Slates loyal to Cruz won every assembly in Colorado's seven congressional districts, which began April 2 and culminated Friday with 12 delegates selected. The Texas senator is well-positioned to pad his total Saturday, when 13 more delegates will be chosen at Colorado Republicans' state convention.
Of Cruz's delegates, only 17 were formally pledged to him, and in theory the other four could change their vote in Cleveland. But they were all included on the senator's slates and are largely state party officials who said they were barred from signing a formal pledge for Cruz but have promised to back him in balloting at the convention.
The result shows how Cruz's superior organization has helped him as he tries to catch up with front-runner Donald Trump. While Cruz's campaign spent months recruiting slates of delegates and securing pledges, Trump only this week hired a Colorado state director. Two candidates Trump's campaign told backers to support in one district were not even on the ballot.
The Trump campaign said it wasn't worried and had always expected to fare poorly in Colorado because its assembly process is dominated by party insiders. "If we had a primary, yes, we would have done very well here," said Trump senior adviser Alan Cobb.
Cruz also appeals to Colorado Republican activists who dominate party functions — a deeply conservative, religious crowd with a libertarian streak.
"Coloradans, naturally having that pioneer spirit, gravitate toward someone like Cruz," said State Rep. Justin Everett, one of Cruz's pledged delegates.