The reason Senator Ted Cruz swept the Colorado delegate count this past Saturday at the state assembly in Colorado Springs had nothing to do with party malfeasance, establishment monkey business nor any “rigging of the system.” Donald Trump lost the Colorado delegate race for one reason only – he got out-worked. I know; I am a Colorado Republican Party officer, I live here, I was there and I sincerely don’t have a dog in this hunt.
The Cruz team developed and executed a very effective campaign effort in our state; one that started early and did not relent until the final delegate names were announced Saturday night. From the time our precinct caucuses ended team Cruz was focused on the proverbial ‘ground game.’ It worked.
As a voting member of our state assembly, in the 5 ½ weeks since our precinct caucuses (March 1), I have received a steady stream of emails from individuals running to become delegates to the July Republican National Convention as “pledged to vote for Ted Cruz.” Other emails encouraged me to vote the “Ted Cruz slate.” Not only did the ‘official’ Cruz campaign endorsed slate market itself others who’d joined forces in an attempt to win via a strength-in-numbers strategy did as well. They sent email and snail mail flyers thru the USPS. They filled my inbox on a daily basis. I’d conservatively estimate I received three dozen such emails last week alone. I and the other 5,000-plus Coloradans in this mix did too. I recall receiving one from someone running as a pledged Trump delegate.
For as many emails as the Cruz team sent, they made even more phone calls. I received multiple calls and have been told of a Cruz volunteer who made 1,500 calls to encourage support for those running as pledged to Cruz. I never got one phone call from team Trump.
The Cruz camp bombarded representatives to assemblies with robocalls; robocalls to delegates to congressional assemblies were recorded by U.S. House Representative Ken Buck, a Colorado politician very popular in conservative circles. Robocalls for those headed to the state assembly were recorded by Cruz himself.
Colorado has 64 counties. As a state party official (Vice Chairman) I log a lot of miles in support of county GOP operations. In the past two months I’d been to many county meetings, Lincoln Day Dinners and other fund raisers, attended both county and congressional assemblies, plus other less-formal grassroots meetings. Team Cruz never failed to have someone at each of these gatherings to speak on behalf of “Ted Cruz for President,” distribute literature and solicit delegate support. A representative was present to speak on behalf of Mr. Trump less than half the time.
Which brings us to this past Saturday.
Our state assembly was held at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. Delegates and state and county officers from across the Centennial State were in attendance. On approach to the venue Cruz supporters were conducting “honk’n waves” at street intersections. The walkways leading to the building were lined with Cruz signs. Once inside the foyer, external hallways and even parts of the arena itself looked like a Ted Cruz rally. The Cruz camp had purchased large, full-color banners and “TrusTed” signs, which were everywhere. Hawkers with an endless supply of slick flyers and other handouts touting the Senator’s record, accomplishments and campaign pillars were strategically placed. You had NO chance of walking past them without being handed one. The various Cruz slates each had their own color-coordinated “vote this Cruz slate” flyers, which they dutifully placed on seats, in bathrooms and directly into hands all over the building.
When he delivered his speech on Saturday Cruz stood in front of a line of supporters wearing bright, day-glow orange “CRUZ” t-shirts. Dozens and dozens and dozens of Cruz’s people wore them. In fact so many were visible in the arena that at one point during his speech Cruz quipped, “We did it for the Broncos” in reference to the unmistakable orange hue.
Cruz delivering a speech on Saturday was the coup de grace. On Saturday April 9 in Colorado Springs, Ted Cruz, a man seeking to win as many delegates as possible in his quest to secure the Republican presidential nomination, did something none of his rivals did: he showed up. Cruz arrived at the World Arena and delivered what was generally considered a rousing, effective twenty-minute speech. Following his time on stage, Cruz hung around, shook hands, posed for selfies, signed autographs and generally did the politician-seeking-votes thing. Donald Trump did not attend the Colorado Republican state assembly.
For the record, as a party officer I can neither show favoritism nor pick a candidate in the race. Off the record, I haven’t picked one. I would be perfectly fine supporting any of the three gentlemen left in the Republican primary. I happen to believe Mr. Trump is a very smart man who would bring many sound, admirable qualities to the Oval Office. He would be a highly effective president and I’ve no qualms about supporting him should he become the nominee. But he did not lose Colorado so much as Senator Cruz won it.
Mr. Trump was not cheated, swindled, bamboozled or ripped off. He was simply out-hustled.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn and originally appeared at The American Thinker]