For those already sounding the death knell for Senator Cruz’s campaign, you may want to hold off a smidge.
Virginia, a state that went to Trump in the primary, is set to have their delegate selection on Saturday, and the Cruz ground game is in full effect. GOP insiders with the state expect all 13 delegates to lean to Cruz.
As the selection process begins, Ken Cuccinelli, former VA Attorney General and Cruz convention advisor, could be included, while closing out former VA Governor and 2016 candidate for the presidency, Jim Gilmore, as well as Trump’s VA campaign director, Corey Stewart.
“The Cruz campaign is mobilized in Virginia and they will likely dominate the convention floor on Friday and Saturday,” said a Virginia Republican central committee member familiar with the state convention process.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s advisors feel confident that there will be no contested convention. They believe that if this past week’s primary results are any indicator, Trump is well-poised to reach the required 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination, outright.
Cruz has been making significant strides in collecting delegates over the last few weeks, much to the consternation of the GOP’s slow witted front runner.
Before Virginia convention-goers elect their national delegates, a Nominations Committee of party insiders will recommend a 13-member slate. The nomination panel includes appointees from state party chairman John Whitbeck, along with designees of the Virginia GOP’s 11 Congressional district leaders. They’ll select from among 80 applicants, including Cuccinelli, Stewart and Gilmore, who is also handling the Virginia GOP’s general election get-out-the-vote effort.
The slate then comes before the full state convention – a collection of GOP activists selected at local party meetings throughout the spring – for a final vote. If Cruz backers control the convention, they could reject the slate and force through another version packed with Cruz allies. The Nominations Committee may anticipate that outcome and propose a slate tilted toward Cruz supporters.
Interviews for the delegates begins today.
“We’ll do our best to put together a slate that will pass,” said Jo Thoburn, one of the panel members. “We’ll see who’s in the room and what makes the most sense. Traditionally – and let me emphasize traditionally – our statewide elected are usually given seats on the slate. There’s nothing traditional this year.”
Graven Craig, the chairman of the committee, said the pan will “consider all merits of all the candidates who want to go represent us at the national convention.”
But one state GOP official familiar with the nomination panel noted that there’s only one self-declared Trump supporter on the panel – Renee Maxey of the state central committee – while several have backed Cruz or Rubio.
Stewart, however, is not concerned, as he feels people are beginning to accept Trump as nominee, and that in the end, there will be unification.