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Ted Cruz Courts Delegates In Colorado


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'll start the program today looking at two presidential contests playing out in the West. Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic caucuses in Wyoming. He celebrated with supporters at a rally on Long Island, N.Y.


BERNIE SANDERS: All right, news bulletin - we just won Wyoming.


MARTIN: Meanwhile, the Republican contest for the presidential nomination is playing out today in an arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. It's a little controversial. The state Republican Party is gathered to select its delegates for the Republican National Convention, and Ted Cruz is looking strong and poised to put another hurdle in Donald Trump's path to the GOP nomination. NPR's Scott Detrow is in Colorado Springs following the action. Hi Scott.


MARTIN: So why is Ted Cruz so well-positioned?

DETROW: Well, this is a favorable crowd for Ted Cruz. You know, he's done really well on caucuses, which tend to bring out the activists. Conventions - it's like a hyper-caucus. You've got the committed of the committed of the committed here - very conservative group of people in the arena. But mostly it's organization. The Cruz campaign has been working hard in Colorado for months. And when you arrived at the arena this morning, there were Cruz volunteers in bright orange shirts handing out a slate of delegate candidates. There's about 600 people running for convention delegates here, and the Cruz campaign is making sure everyone walking into the arena knows which of the 13 people on the ballot the campaign wants them to vote for. You know, they've been working hard and because of that, as Ted Cruz pointed out when he showed up here to address the convention, they've done really well so far.


TED CRUZ: Here in Colorado, ya'll have had seven elections in the past week. In each of the seven congressional districts you've had a separate election. Collectively, those seven elections have elected 21 delegates. and of those 21 delegates, together we won all 21.


DETROW: A whole lot of political wonkery there. But the big point is that if Ted Cruz does win all 13 of the statewide delegates that are on the ballot today - and his campaign does think it has a chance to do that - he walks out of Colorado with 36 more delegates. And that's actually more than he got from Wisconsin this week.

MARTIN: And contrast that - there's been a lot of reporting about how the Trump campaign has not been particularly effective in organizing for these caucuses. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

DETROW: Yeah, that's the case. There were issues in those congressional district votes that happened over the last few days, where the Trump campaign was telling voters to select candidates who weren't even on the ballot or didn't even have their own candidates to offer. You know, as opposed to that big sea of orange-shirted Cruz volunteers, I could only see a handful of people handing out Trump slates. And then I took the slate they were handing out and I checked it against the big, you know, several-page ballot, and there were a lot of errors - people who they had the wrong name for or they were telling people to vote for candidates who aren't committing to Donald Trump. So, you know, the Trump campaign has done a really great job of putting together enormous rallies all across the country and getting a lot of media, but they've had a hard time organizing, and that's something they're trying to work on.

MARTIN: And you only have about 20 seconds, but how significant is this - with 37 delegates in Colorado total at stake?

DETROW: Well, at this point, we won't know if it'll happen for a while, but everyone's proceeding on the assumption there's going to be contested convention in Cleveland. So the Cruz campaign wants to make sure they can count on as many delegates as they can to be with them in the first round or the second round or even the 15th round of voting if it gets to that.

MARTIN: All right, that's NPR's Scott Detrow. Thanks Scott.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.