Ted Cruz wins majority of Virginia delegate slots at state convention
Ted Cruz dominated yet another delegate selection process over the weekend, winning 10 of the 13 at-large delegate slots available at the Virginia state GOP Convention — delegates the Texas senator hopes he can use in a second ballot at the Republican National Convention in July.
A delegation made up of 10 Cruz supporters and three Donald Trump supporters, proposed by the convention’s nominations committee, passed on the first ballot late Saturday.
Since Virginia’s delegates are unbound after the first ballot in Cleveland, the selection of a preponderance of Cruz backers to fill those delegate slots means that most of them could flip their votes to Cruz if Trump, who is less than 237 delegates away from clinching the 1,237 he needs to win, fails to get there on the first ballot. So while Trump won the state’s primary on March 1 with 34% of the vote — far ahead of rivals Cruz at 16% and John Kasich at 9% — the results from Virginia mean his votes from the state’s delegation could evaporate later on.
Early on at the state’s convention over the weekend, the Republican Party of Virginia was expected to put up a slate comprised of a mix of each presidential campaign’s supporters. But support for the state party wavered once some Cruz supporters began pushing for a slate made up entirely of Cruz people, a scenario that has played out at other state conventions like in Maine and Arizona to the advantage of the Cruz campaign.
Ken Cuccinelli, a Cruz aide from Virginia who was elected as a delegate, said before the voting that while the Cruz national campaign supported the state party’s slate, the determination of grass-roots supporters in the state to pass an all-Cruz slate could cause the campaign to shift its backing.
“I’m going to get up and speak to (the state party’s slate) actually,” Cuccinelli, the state’s former attorney general, told CNN. But, he added, “We’re ready if it gets voted down. Absolutely. We always come in with a plan B.”
Cuccinelli also said that “test issues” voted on earlier in the weekend revealed broad Cruz support among the activists who made up the state convention. “We believe we have the votes to run the table,” he said, so even a state party slate made up primarily of Cruz supporters with some Trump backers was a “compromise” from their perspective.”