Republican voters in Colorado never had their say at the polls in a traditional primary process, but Sen. Ted Cruz walked away with all of the state’s 34 delegates this weekend nonetheless, and now Donald Trump is crying foul.
First, some background via The Denver Post:
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 poll in 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 took to Twitter Sunday evening calling the results ‘totally unfair.’
“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!” wrote Trump.
He continued in a second tweet: “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!”
But it was the Trump campaign that chose to not compete in Colorado, pointing early on to a system that favored party insiders as their reason for not getting involved. After all, it wasn’t until just last week that his campaign put a paid staffer on the ground in the state.
In contrast, the Cruz campaign had been in Colorado for months working to round up endorsements in the state and win over delegates.
“Over 100 people have been working since last year, to get people out to caucuses to elect people to the convention,” said Cruz’s state chairman Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, reports The Wall Street Journal. “Now we are in the process of seeing a return on our investment.”
Whether or not one agrees with Colorado’s decision last year to cancel its traditional caucus is a completely separate issue. Cruz won fair and square by working within the process and rules that were established, his campaign spokeswoman noted.