CASPER, Wyo. -- Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz looks poised to dominate the intricate state convention process here in Wyoming today, hoping to add another 14 delegates to his total haul and block rival campaigns from chipping away at his support.
Hot off sweeping Colorado’s delegates last weekend, the Cruz campaign is once again flexing its organizational muscle, boosting his already-strong position in multilevel convention contests where local party officials choose the state’s national delegates.
Most states have a primary or caucus to determine how many delegates each candidate receives. But a few states, like North Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming, elect their delegates at state party meetings.
Cruz himself is slated to address state-level delegates in Casper today. Ed Buchanan, the state’s Cruz campaign chair, says volunteers spread across each of Wyoming’s 23 counties have been tracking the process since last fall.
“We send them letters, call them and to try identify who might want to be at-large delegates,” he told ABC News, adding that nearly 100 volunteers have been part of the ground effort on a weekly basis here.
But since so many Cruz-pledged hopefuls are trying to go to Cleveland, the Cruz campaign is circulating a list of Cruz-preferred delegates to consolidate support for the 14 available delegate slots.
“If you’ve got a clear majority of the delegates and they stick together to these 14, you should get all 14,” said Buchanan, hoping to sweep the state’s at-large slate.
Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, continues to struggle in states without a presidential preference vote. “Expectations are low here,” said Alan Cobb, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign on the ground in Casper. “These narrow party processes don’t favor our campaign.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was planning on coming to sway state delegates to back Trump-preferred delegates, but she has canceled her appearance.
Trump’s campaign did have some volunteers working in the state, but says it wanted to focus attention in other states like New York, where Trump is expecting a blowout next Tuesday. “It was a conscious decision,” Cobb told ABC News. “These processes just don’t work for us.”
A state party panel here in Wyoming has already drafted a preliminary list of candidates to run for 14 open delegate slots to the national convention. About six in 10 of the names on the list say they support Cruz, while only five of the 59 names currently in play say they support Trump. The rest are undeclared.
Cruz has already taken nine of the 12 delegates picked here at the county level.