UPDATE: 6 p.m. EDT — CNN reported that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas captured all 14 Wyoming Republican convention delegates Saturday at the state convention in Casper. The GOP presidential hopeful addressed conventiongoers, pledging “to end the war on coal.”
As Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump concentrated his efforts on Tuesday's New York primary, rival Ted Cruz was poised to grab up 14 delegates in Wyoming on Saturday, further cutting the front-runner’s lead.
Trump, the New York real estate mogul, made little effort in Wyoming, choosing to focus his attention on home turf.
Some 475 Wyoming GOP activists convened in Casper for the state convention, which follows earlier county-level conventions that saw 10 delegates go to Cruz, one to Trump and one elected unbound. Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, has a deeper ground game nationally than Trump, especially in states like Wyoming that don’t hold primaries. While Trump depends on massive rallies to stir followers, Cruz’s campaign relies on old-fashioned political organizing.
Trump was on the stump in Syracuse, New York, where Reuters reported he criticized the Wyoming process and that of Colorado, which earlier gave all of its 34 delegates to Cruz.
Here's a shot of the crowd at Donald Trump's rally in Syracuse (and more people still coming in): pic.twitter.com/pz3IsJemxY
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) April 16, 2016
“They’re going nuts out there; they’re angry,” Trump said in Syracuse. “The bosses took away their vote, and I wasn’t going to send big teams of people three, four months ago, have them out there.”
New York, of course, is a much bigger prize, with 95 delegates awarded proportionally depending on the popular vote — unless a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in any congressional district, and then he gets all three delegates per district. Ditto the 14 statewide delegates if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the statewide vote. Trump currently has 755 delegates of the 1,237 needed to capture the Republican nomination on the first ballot while Cruz has 545 and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has just 143.
Trump still could clinch the nomination averting an open convention, which almost certainly would pick someone else to be the standard-bearer, but it will be close. He needs to secure more than 60 percent of the outstanding delegates, a FiveThirtyEight analysis indicates.
Trump has been railing against the Byzantine selection process, calling it unfair and warning his supporters could riot if he walks into the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland with the most delegates but leaves the gathering without the nod.
A Marist poll released Saturday gives Trump 54 percent of the vote in the New York contest, to 25 percent for Kasich and 16 percent for Cruz, while an Optimus poll released Friday puts Trump at 49 percent, to 23 percent for Kasich and 14 percent for Cruz. The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls has Trump at 53.4 percent to 22.1 percent for Kasich and 17.3 percent for Cruz.
Two people who won’t be voting for Trump come Tuesday are two of his children, Ivanka and Eric, who have been deeply involved in the campaign. Trump told a Fox News interview this week they failed to register in time. The deadline for registration was in March.