Candidate’s boiler room is calling the shots in final push to Tuesday.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Ted Cruz’s team, long obsessed with data and voter modeling, has kicked its dependency on analytics into overdrive, shifting on a dime as delegate targets emerge in pockets of North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.
The Texas senator’s operation is now making decisions based on daily and sometimes hourly data about where he stands to pick up the most delegates in the next round of voting, and only then publicly announcing his plans, typically with 24 hours’ notice or less.
“We poll every night, we’re tracking where we should go, allocating resources on a daily basis, making decisions on a daily basis, in many cases, changing decisions on a daily basis,” said one source close to the campaign. “At this stage of the game, you’ve got to be strategic.”
The strategy of waiting until the last moment to plan and advertise events is inherently risky, increasing the chances for small crowds and bad optics. And it stands in contrast to the approach taken by other candidates. Donald Trump, with his Secret Service detail, must plan events days ahead of time; and Marco Rubio and John Kasich release several days’ worth of logistics at a time, allowing for more organization and coverage of the events.
But the campaign is more concerned with amassing delegates on Tuesday, as Cruz aims to emerge as the candidate best-positioned to challenge Trump. While he is highly unlikely to win Florida and Ohio, winner-take-all states where Marco Rubio and John Kasich are fighting to close the distance with Trump, Cruz is looking elsewhere for opportunities to pad his delegate count. And being nimble—rather than committing to events early and then being locked in to less-than-strategic stops—is part of that goal, campaign manager Jeff Roe suggested.
The campaign’s data memos on the states that vote Tuesday are being constantly updated, sometimes throughout the night, before a final decision is made on which state, and which city, should host events the following day. Internal briefings include a ranking of the locations within the states that offer up the most delegate opportunities, calculations that are built on refreshing the campaign’s voter models of each state as they seek to find and turn out voters potentially inclined toward Cruz.
“It’s all built on the goal of achieving the highest number of delegates coming out of each state,” said another Cruz source. “What we do is not driven by winning states, it’s about winning delegates.”
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