Ted Cruz Sweeps Wyoming GOP Convention

Voting was for 14 open national delegate slots.

ByABC News
April 16, 2016, 6:40 PM

CASPER, Wyoming— -- Ted Cruz swept all 14 delegate slots at stake in today’s Wyoming state Republican Party convention, marking yet another state meeting where Cruz's ground game and local party leader support boosted his delegate pursuit of Donald Trump.

The Texas senator’s success here means that 23 of the state's 29 delegates will be bound to Cruz on the first ballot. Trump has one, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has one and the other four are uncommitted.

Of the 14 alternates, seven are Cruz supporters and seven are uncommitted.

Following his sweep of Colorado’s delegates last weekend, the Cruz campaign was once again showing its organizational prowess, strengthening his good position in multilevel convention contests where local party officials choose the state's national delegates.

Donald Trump's organization in the state failed to fill a full slate of 14 preferred delegates for the open slots. Only six names were on the Trump slate even though any registered Republican in the state was eligible to be nominated with the support of just one of the almost 500 state-level delegates.

While at the convention, Cruz asked the crowd to vote for his slate.

"We’ve got a slate of delegates who are committed to me in Cleveland," he said. "If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee or hand [Hillary] Clinton the election, which is basically what a Trump nomination does ... I ask you to please support the men and women on this slate."

The Cruz-preferred slate of 14 delegates signed a non-binding pledge with the campaign saying they will support Cruz on all ballots of the convention, according to Ben Sherman, a delegate from Laramie and the assistant to Ed Buchanan, the Cruz chairman in Wyoming.

A total of 69 candidates for national delegate were on the ballot -- 40 were pledged to Cruz, 23 were uncommitted and six were pledged to Trump.

"The state of Wyoming right, now the entire country -- its eyes are on this state," Cruz told the convention.

Cruz catered to the crowd about the need to end the war on coal. Wyoming is the number one coal producer in the United States, producing 39 percent of all the coal mined in the county -- three times more than West Virginia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"America is the Saudi Arabia of coal," he said.

While Trump continued campaigning in New York ahead of Tuesday's primary, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin canceled her trip to Wyoming to stump for him at the convention. Instead, a local Trump-preferred delegate, Claire Powers, spoke for him.

She read a poem at the end of her speech that began, “Who do we want, Cruz or Trump?” The crowd interrupted her by shouting back -- "Cruz!"