In Colorado and South Carolina, the GOP’s embattled front-runner had another very bad day.
Donald Trump’s struggle to win loyal delegates to the Republican National Convention grew even more desperate on Saturday, with crushing losses in Colorado and South Carolina that put victory at a contested convention further from his grasp.
Trump, who handed the reins of much of his campaign this week to strategist Paul Manafort in an effort to shore up his operation before the nomination slips away, was swept out of delegate slots up for grabs at Colorado’s state convention. Adding to his woes, he picked up just one delegate of six on the ballot in South Carolina. The most painful result, though, may have been Trump’s failure to capture two of three slots in his strongest South Carolina congressional district.
In fact, Trump lost five of the six delegate seats on the ballot in South Carolina’s 3rd and 7th congressional districts. Ted Cruz nabbed a delegate in the 7th district, while another, Alan Clemmons, remained uncommitted despite Trump’s dominant finish there in the state’s Feb. 20 primary. (The Manhattan billionaire won 43 percent of the district’s vote, to Cruz’s 20 percent and Kasich’s 6 percent.) Cruz also won two of three delegates in the 3rd district, while a third — Susan Aiken, a supporter of Marco Rubio — will go to the convention as an uncommitted delegate.
When the balloting results were announced Saturday evening, Cruz picked up the 13 statewide at-large delegates chosen during Saturday’s convention, with the final three appointed automatically by the Colorado Republican Party, giving him all 34 of Colorado’s elected delegates (Trump did win six of the 34 alternate spots).
“Cruz had the crowd eating out of his hand when he spoke,” said Kelly Maher, a GOP operative based in Denver.
It’s an extension of a losing streak for Trump that threatens the mogul’s odds of winning the Republican nomination at what is increasingly likely to be a contested convention in July. Trump is close to falling short of enough support in the state-level primaries and caucuses to clinch the nomination outright, meaning his fate would be determined by delegates in Cleveland.
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