Lansing, Michigan (CNN) — Ted Cruz suffered a rare convention loss Saturday after delegates backing John Kasich and Donald Trump boxed him out of key positions in the Michigan delegation.
The Texas senator’s campaign ran eight delegates for eight committee spots and lost every one, alleging it was “double-crossed” by Kasich supporters.
The Michigan delegation picked one Trump supporter, Matt Hall, and one Kasich supporter, Judi Schwalbach, for the two seats on the powerful rules committee. The Cruz campaign lost votes for both seats.
The rules committee seats have become highly coveted prizes for their role in shaping a contested convention in Cleveland. After the delegates are selected in each state, they meet as a group and pick the members of four convention committees, the most important of which is the rules committee, which will ultimately decide who can be nominated president.
Michigan Cruz leader Saul Anuzis said they were “double-crossed” by Kasich’s campaign. The Kasich delegates were supposed to vote with Cruz delegates, he said, but switched sides and voted with Trump behind closed doors Saturday afternoon.
Trump and Cruz had formed an alliance behind the scenes to deny Kasich the seats needed to get himself even nominated in Cleveland, but the skirmish in Michigan marked an apparent shift in alliances.
“Do they have a bigger deal? I don’t know what they’re trying to do,” Anuzis said. “I think they won a short-term victory here on committee assignments. We were approached by several of their delegates who were very upset with how it was done in the process and I think that will help us long term on the floor.”
Of Michigan’s 59 delegates selected Friday and Saturday, Trump supporters filled 25 spots, Cruz supporters filled 17 and Kasich supporters took another 17 — although it was unclear who all the delegates were permanently aligned with.
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