The race is getting closer and closer for these two GOP candidates. That is, if the RNC doesn’t try and steal it from them.
Sen. Ted Cruz is out-hustling Donald Trump and looks set to ensure many Arizona delegates will defect to him in a convention floor fight.
The Texas senator, who ever since Iowa has played a stealthy ground game in contrast to Trump’s chaotic populism, is taking steps to snatch the Republican presidential nomination from The Donald at the convention in July.
The New York businessman easily won last month’s Arizona primary taking 47 percent to Cruz’s 25 percent, scooping up all 58 of the state’s delegates. That’s nearly 5 percent of the 1,237 Trump needs for the nomination, and they’re tied are to him on the first ballot.
But Cruz, exploiting deep opposition to Trump among grassroots Republicans, has been far more active in Arizona than Trump, insiders say. He’s recruiting candidates for the available 55 delegate slots, that along with the other three delegate positions filled by party leaders, would be allowed to vote for him in a multi-ballot contested convention.
“Cruz, out of all the campaigns, has the most folks on the ground and has been the most organized,” Michael Noble, a Republican consultant in Arizona who is neutral, told the Washington Examineron Friday.
“Trump has no real organization in Arizona,” added GOP strategist Sean Noble (no relation) in an email exchange. “Cruz will get most/all Arizona delegates on second ballot.”
The Cruz campaign has been exceptionally skilled at grassroots organizing, a talent that lends itself to winning delegate elections in precincts, counties and states across the country. That was on display in North Dakota over the weekend, where Cruz topped Trump to win 18 out of 25 available slots in elections held at the state GOP convention in Fargo.
In a telephone interview, Cruz’s top Arizona organizer, Constantine Querard, was cautiously optimistic about the progress his team was making in fielding delegate candidates that would be loyal to Cruz. That team includes Republican legislator David Livingston, the majority whip in the state House of Representatives.