Cruz stands to gain majority of Colorado delegates
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Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE is poised to clean up at Colorado's Republican convention on Saturday, a win that provides a glimpse at Cruz’s organizational advantages during the frantic GOP delegate chase. 

The Texas senator, seeking to gather enough delegates to force a contested national convention, has already won all of the state's delegates awarded at congressional district conventions this past week, which local Republicans credit to his strong organizational presence in the state. 

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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE, on the other hand, has struggled, facing staff tumult and reports of inadequate delegate preparation that kept some picks off of the ballot.  

Some predict that Trump, who still aims to win the nomination outright with 1,237 delegates, could even be shut out from winning any delegates, yet another setback as the GOP front-runner looks to win the nomination outright and avoid the uncertainty of a contested convention.  

“I think there’s a good chance [Cruz] wins 90 percent or more of the Colorado delegation,” former state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams said. 

“Trump has essentially walked off the field.” 

Wadhams and other Colorado Republicans told The Hill that Cruz’s organization within the state is superior to both Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who stands to get no delegates.

And Colorado’s process, which is more complicated and drawn out than in other states, puts a premium on organization as candidates scrap for every last delegate. 

Instead of allowing voters' ballots to be the final say on how many delegates each candidate wins, Colorado decided on a multi-step process. 

Republican caucusgoers elected local-level delegates on the March 1 caucus night. It has been up to those delegates to whittle themselves down at a series of seven congressional district conventions and  Saturday's state convention.  

Each congressional convention awarded three delegates to the winner -- all of those were won by Ted Cruz. And on Saturday, Republicans will meet during the state convention on Saturday in Colorado Springs to elect the final 13 at-large delegates to round out who will represent The Centennial State in Cleveland. 

There are almost 600 party activists in the running for those 13 spots. Some have not pledged to support a candidate and would remain unbound if elected, giving them freedom – and some power – if the national convention is contested. Others have already declared their loyalties, which binds them by Republican National Committee rules.

Only one candidate will be on hand to address the state delegates directly— Cruz, who is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Trump cancelled a weekend rally in the state while Kasich will send former New Hampshire Sen. John E. Sununu on his behalf to make the ask.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” said Ryan Call, another former state chairman. 

“Trump making the decision not to even show up, not to bother to get down into the weeds of Colorado’s delegate selection process, I think overwhelmingly voters will say…’I’m not going to vote for him then.’”  

Call, who is running as an unpledged delegate, noted that the last time a presidential candidate spoke to the convention was Ronald Reagan in 1976, which also happens to be the last time the GOP faced a contested convention. Reagan locked down the vast majority of the delegation thanks in large part to that personal ask, Call said. 

Face time and organization are just some of the advantages Cruz has in his corner. Both Wadhams and Call said that Cruz’s organization on the ground has been superior, and that the national conversation of him as the best shot at beating Trump has helped bring people into his corner. 

Trump’s campaign has not put much effort into the state and doesn’t seem concerned. 

“We have included no delegates from Colorado on Mr. Trump's path to a first ballot victory in Cleveland,” senior adviser Ed Brookover told The Hill in an email.

That lack of support from the national apparatus has led to organizational problems in the state that threaten to leave him with few, if any, delegates. 

NBC reported that two of the Trump campaign’s preferred delegates were left off the ballot during Thursday’s Seventh Congressional District Convention, at least one because the delegate had not paid the correct fees. 

On top of that, the campaign fired state director James Baker just days before congressional conventions began. 

“The small handful of people who have moved up through the process as Trump supporters have had to do so largely on their own initiative,” Call said, adding that he recently spoke to a friend running as a Trump delegate who lamented the lack of organization and support from the campaign apparatus. 

“For Trump supporters who may be brand new to the political process because they haven’t been involved or are outsiders, this is the ultimate insider’s game.” 

Many Republicans viewed the decision to not hold a primary or caucus in the first place as a risky move by the party that took the spotlight away from the state during the process in favor of the hope that the state could send unbound delegates to the convention and ultimately have more say. 

Now that the delegates and their loyalties have become more important than ever before, some Republicans believe the decision could put Colorado at the center of the delegate fight. 

"We could be the final votes or delegates for any given campaign, you're talking 1,237 delegates and we are thirty-seven of those,” state chairman Steve House, himself an unpledged delegate, told a Colorado NPR affiliate

“Clearly we play a fairly pivotal role in the total process especially given that this is a potentially contested convention where ten delegates, fifteen delegates, twenty delegate could make the difference." 

But with so many of the delegates already aligning with Cruz, others believe it was a long road to a similar outcome that could have hurt enthusiasm among typical Republican voters who may feel shut out from the process. 

“We’re going to have a committed delegation of Cruz supporters, we are not going to have a bunch of uncommitted delegates,” Wadhams, the former state GOP chairman said. 

“Democrats had a much bigger turnout than we did because they did conduct a presidential preference poll.”