US Elections 2016

Cruz creeps up on Trump with win in Wyoming

US presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (left) and rival Donald Trump speaking at the 2016 New York State Republican Gala in New York City, on April 14, 2016. .
US presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (left) and rival Donald Trump speaking at the 2016 New York State Republican Gala in New York City, on April 14, 2016. . PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

Trump blasts 'rigged' process as gap between Republican rivals for nomination narrows

CASPER (Wyoming) • US presidential hopeful Ted Cruz won all 14 delegates at stake in Wyoming on Saturday, besting his Republican rival Donald Trump, who made little effort to win the rural state, and further narrowing the gap in the race for the party's nomination.

Mr Cruz is trying to prevent Mr Trump from obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination at the July convention in Cleveland. By continuing to rack up small wins, Mr Cruz is gaining ground on the real estate mogul, who has thus far failed to shift his focus to the local-level campaigning necessary to win delegates.

Mr Trump has been critical of the process, again calling it "rigged" while speaking at a rally on Saturday. He has repeatedly complained about Colorado, which gave all 34 of its delegates to Mr Cruz despite not holding a popular vote.

 

Mr Trump said his supporters are becoming increasingly angry with states such as Wyoming and Colorado. "They're going nuts out there; they're angry," he said. "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."

While Mr Trump has won 21 state nominating contests to Mr Cruz's 10, the billionaire leads the Texas senator by only 196 delegates (755 to 559). That means he must win nearly 60 per cent of those remaining before the party's political convention in July.

Wyoming does not hold a primary vote. Instead, 475 party activists convened for a state convention to award 14 delegates. Previously, 12 other delegates had been designated at county-level conventions. Mr Cruz won 10 of those, with one going to Mr Trump and another being elected as "unbound".

Mr Cruz spoke at the convention, capping a months-long effort to organise support in the state. Mr Trump had originally planned to send former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who remains popular among conservatives, as a surrogate, but she cancelled at the last minute.

Mr Cruz spoke about local issues in Wyoming, the largest coal-producing state. He discussed the Democratic "attack" on the fossil fuel, saying President Barack Obama has tried to put the coal industry out of business through government regulations targeting air pollution. "America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and we are going to develop our industry," Mr Cruz said.

At the same time, Mr Trump was speaking at a rally in Syracuse, New York, ahead of the state's Republican primary tomorrow.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'Cruz creeps up on Trump with win in Wyoming'. Print Edition | Subscribe