Earlier this week, Donald Trump revamped his campaign team to put a greater focus on the under-the-radar battle for unbound delegates that he is, by pretty much any measure, losing badly to Ted Cruz. That overdue decision may still one day pay dividends for the celebrity billionaire—but Thursday was not that day.
At a congressional district-level convention in Colorado—one of seven the state GOP holds to select most of the 37 delegates it will send to the national convention this summer—Trump’s campaign left both empty-handed and embarrassed. Here’s NBC News’ Benjy Sarlin with the play-by-play:
Addressing the audience, Trump’s new Colorado state director Patrick Davis told supporters to vote for the three pro-Trump delegate candidates on a glossy brochure the campaign distributed. “Look for them on the back when you vote Donald Trump!” Davis said. “He’s going to make America great again!”
There was only one problem: Two of the three names weren’t listed on the ballot.
It turns out that at least one of the MIA delegates failed to pay the necessary fee to get on the ballot. Davis, who was given his new job on Tuesday after the campaign’s former state director was fired, conceded that his campaign is “not as out front” as the other ones when it comes to organizing. The upside for Team Trump was that the campaign didn’t even have a list of approved delegates to hand out during two other Colorado conventions that occurred this past weekend—so, you know, progress!
The Cruz machine, meanwhile, continued to hum along. The campaign came prepared with a list of six delegates, including three alternatives, and that prep work was rewarded. All three delegates selected at Thursday’s convention were on Cruz’s approved list, as were two of the three alternates. (The third was unaligned.) The Texan also swept the six delegates awarded last weekend during two other district-level conventions, and is likely to add to his total on Friday, when another four district-level conventions take place, and on Saturday, when another 13 delegates will be elected at the state convention.
More in Slate:
- An Extremely Detailed Guide to What the Heck Might Happen at a GOP Contested Convention
- It’s All About the Unbound Delegates Now