Politico reports that mayhem broke out on the floor of the North Dakota Republican Party’s convention moments before the vote on the slate of 25 delegates to the national convention. One party activist requested that the allegiances of all the unbound delegates be disclosed. The request was debated for 10 minutes. The party chairman declared that the request had been voted down after a “mixed result.” Then he asked supporters and opponents to stand and be counted. As the chairman again said the request lost, there were boos and shouts to “call the roll.” The roll was called and the request to disclose was defeated — 611 in favor, 748 opposed.
Donald Trump’s campaign embraced the recommended state party slate of 25 delegates and saw the proposal’s defeat as a victory, with Trump adviser Barry Bennett telling reporters that he would be “popping champagne” if the recommended list goes through. John Kasich’s campaign has also endorsed the party-recommended slate.
The state party released its list of 25 recommended delegates on Saturday afternoon on the convention floor, but activists added dozens of new names to the list to be voted upon Sunday. Sen. Ted Cruz’s team worked into Saturday night to formulate its own recommended list of loyalists. There is some repetition between the Cruz list and state party one, with nine overlapping names. There are also questions of just how loyal many of the delegates truly are:
Dick Dever, who is listed on the Cruz slate, told POLITICO on Saturday night, “Of the three, I like John Kasich the best.”
Jim Poolman, who’s both on the Cruz slate card and on the state party one, told POLITICO he was only “leaning Cruz.”
And a third, Daniel Traynor, said that while he was adamantly opposed to Trump, he was currently only supporting Cruz because he had the best chance of stopping Trump. “I prefer Kasich,” he said, noting he had previously backed Sen. Marco Rubio.
According to ABC News, the North Dakota GOP convention has been comprised of backroom deals, as the remaining Republican presidential campaigns woo potential delegates. ABC News was in the closed-door meetings, as Carson explained his endorsement of Trump, and making a strong pitch against Kasich and Cruz. Since it’s mathematically impossible for Kasich to win the Republican nomination before the convention, his delegate team was focused on a contested convention.
CNN reports that Kasich’s campaign was also optimistic about the recommended state party slate of delegates, saying there were at least 20 potential delegates who could be swayed to their side. Cruz’s campaign has had a strong presence in and around the convention. Cruz himself flew in to speak on Saturday, and Carly Fiorina, the former presidential candidate and top Cruz surrogate, has been meeting publicly and privately with potential delegates since Friday. As many as 10 of the delegates on the preferred list have indicated some or solid public support for Cruz.