Cruz Delegates Waver as Trump Gains Momentum

10664313236_b106846413_b (1)By Brendan Bordelon. Down in the polls and with zero margin for error heading into Tuesday’s crucial Indiana primary, Ted Cruz could be forgiven for seeing a silver lining in his apparent strength with unbound Republican delegates. Until Donald Trump’s romp through the Northeast last Tuesday abruptly changed the subject, the political world was captivated — and Trump supporters were infuriated — by the Cruz campaign’s successful effort to elect large blocs of friendly delegates at a series of state-party conventions.

But friendly delegates are as subject to shifts in the race’s momentum as anyone else, and Cruz’s strength with some of these crucial first-ballot convention voters may be overstated — particularly in North Dakota, where his campaign declared victory after filling 18 of 25 unbound delegate slots with its chosen candidates at the April 3 convention. Those delegates are vital to Cruz’s quest to deny his rival the 1,237 delegates he’ll need on the first ballot in Cleveland. But as they’ve watched Cruz struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator . . .

“I think [last Tuesday’s vote] spooked a lot of people,” says Jim Poolman, a North Dakota delegate who had previously committed to a first-ballot convention vote for Cruz. “But I want to be clear, I think the will of the people does mean something, as well,” he says. “Donald Trump has gotten a lot of support across the country, and just [last Tuesday], winning five [states] is one heckuva showing.” Poolman now says he will opt to see how the remaining primaries play out, and is “not necessarily” a first-ballot vote for Cruz. (Read more from “Cruz Delegates Waver as Trump Gains Momentum” HERE)

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Ted Cruz’s Support Softens Among the Delegates He Courted

By Jeremy W. Peters. Even as Donald J. Trump trounced him from New Hampshire to Florida to Arizona, Senator Ted Cruz could reassure himself with one crucial advantage: He was beating Mr. Trump in the obscure, internecine delegate fights that could end up deciding the Republican nomination for president.

“This is how elections are won in America,” Mr. Cruz gloated after walking away with the most delegates in Wyoming last month.

Now, as he faces a potentially candidacy-threatening contest on Tuesday in Indiana — where a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, released Sunday morning, showed him trailing Mr. Trump by 15 percentage points — Mr. Cruz can take little solace from his vaunted delegate-wrangling operation even if he prevails there. (Read more from “Ted Cruz’s Support Softens Among the Delegates He Courted” HERE)

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