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Live: State Republicans gather, prep for state delegate assembly

Author: Jennifer Kerns - April 9, 2016 - Updated: April 9, 2016

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Colorado Cruz Control

Sen. Ted Cruz has cleaned house again.

All of the elected delegates in congressional districts 4 and 5 have pledged their support for Cruz.

In congressional district 2, one delegate committed to Cruz and two remain unpledged.

So far in the delegate race, four of the seven uncommitted delegates pledge in principle that they will support Cruz, according to Brandon Rittiman of 9 News.

Not a bad day at the office for Cruz, who is working to stop Donald Trump from becoming the nominee.

The Delegates and alternates are as follows (in order of ballot results reported):

Congressional District 5:

Delegates:

Joel Crank – Ted Cruz
Robin Gale Coran – Ted Cruz
Donald Olmstead – Ted Cruz

Alternates:

Kent Lambert – Ted Cruz
Randy Licht – Ted Cruz
Kay Rendleman – Ted Cruz

Congressional District 2:

Delegates:

Robert Woodward – Ted Cruz
Michael McAlpine – Unpledged
Marty Neilson – Unpledged

Alternates:

John S. Bliss – Ted Cruz
Rick Fernandez – Unpledged
John Edward Toomey III – Ted Cruz

Congressional District 4:

Delegates:

Perry Buck – Ted Cruz
Guy Short – Ted Cruz
Kendal Unruh – Ted Cruz

Alternates:

Reese Shay – Unpledged
Kurt Schlegel – Donald Trump
Richard McCaskill – Donald Trump

*UPDATE* Congressional District 3:

CD 3 has been counted. Results are 100% Cruz:

Delegates:

Melanie Sturm – Ted Cruz
Anita M. Stapleton – Ted Cruz
Steven Hofman – Ted Cruz

Alternates:

Brita Horn – Ted Cruz
Bradley Barker – Ted Cruz
Laureen Adele Gutierrez – Ted Cruz

Gardner: Colorado Delegates for Cruz Could Lead to Open Convention

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner talks to attendees at the Republican delegate assemblies in Colorado Springs on April 8. (Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner talks to attendees at the GOP delegate assemblies in Colorado Springs on April 8. (Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)

“In Colorado, Ted Cruz is continuing the momentum he gained in Wisconsin,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told The Colorado Statesman. “It could lead to an open convention.”

What did he say?

The prospect of an open convention, where no one candidate arrives in Cleveland in July with the majority delegates needed to win the nomination, could lead to a brokered convention where delegates horse trade and the possibility arises that anyone can become the party’s presidential nominee— including people who aren’t even campaigning and wooing voters and pressing the flesh, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Talk about an open convention at this point has Trump supporters seeing red. It’s no secret that establishment Republicans for months now have been searching for ways to derail the Trump juggernaut candidacy. Cruz is not likely to flat out defeat Trump in the remaining primary contests, but if he can get close, establishment figures — such as Gardner — will have their chance to topple Trump.

Gardner has called Trump a buffoon, but he has also declined to voice any real support for Cruz. And he’s not alone. Many Republicans agree that deeply conservative Cruz could well lose the general election.

You can feel all of those lies of discussion filling the air with energy on the ground at the Colorado Springs Republican assemblies.

For one thing, it seems obvious that Cruz is sweeping the Centennial state.

And he is, sort of.

Trump supporters concede the Cruz delegate machine is roaring forward, but they say that all that clatter in the delegate-packed ballrooms is covering over the wider grassroots support in the state for Trump.

“The Cruz caucus machine does not represent how the majority of primary voters feel,” said Becky Mizel, former chairperson of the Pueblo County Republican Party and longtime Tea Party activist.

Mizel said the delegate assemblies represent what the establishment does best, and that is to whip votes. But she said it means little in the world outside, where the wider election-winning public casts votes.

Trump supporters and longtime grassroots activists Jennifer Lorensen and Susan Carr discuss delegate counts with former Pueblo County GOP chairwoman Becky Mizel.(Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)
Trump supporters and longtime grassroots activists Jennifer Lorensen and Susan Carr discuss delegate counts with former Pueblo County GOP chairwoman Becky Mizel. (Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)

Cruz supporters say the Cruz team’s ability to whip so many votes is evidence of his fitness for president. After all, a big part of the job at the White House is running shuttle diplomacy to Capitol Hill.

Gardner said that what Cruz activists are doing in Colorado is a big deal.

“It matters greatly,” he said. “Organization wins campaigns, plain and simple.”

Trump supporters say assemblies are window dressing in a process where the end result has already been determined.

“The deck is stacked against Trump here,” said Jan Herron, an activist and Trump supporter who once brought Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Colorado to campaign for former Rep. Tom Tancredo. “The GOP elite has already decided the outcome.”

For evidence to bolster their case, Trump supporters might point to the fact that Trump’s senior adviser and official campaign representative Stephen Miller was left waiting over an hour to speak to delegates at the CD-4 assembly. Cruz supporters meanwhile took turns at the microphone. It is unclear if Miller was ever allowed to address the crowd.

The ballots are being counted now to determine which of the remaining delegates will advance to the Republican National Convention. Regardless of the results today, all GOP voters will have their say when the matter heads to the primary ballot June 28. Only then will we see exactly how representative the “Colorado Cruz Crew” is and just how accurate the Colorado’s delegate assemblies are.

Twitter: Lotsa Trump signs, not many votes

A short roundup of tweets from the Double Tree…

There’s been some confusion about bound and unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz. The Denver Post’s John Frank and ace #copolitics watcher Taniel weigh in:

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This photo of Vargas (the “not an old white guy” candidate) and a Lamborn supporter suddenly even more spot on:

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Not-Lamborn candidate Calandra Vargas apparently got her point across:

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So far in Colorado, Ted Cruz is sweeping up delegates and frontrunner Donald Trump is not. It’s an increasing problem for Trump in states around the country. He generates buzz and even votes but lacks the campaign and know-how on his team to translate that energy to the kind of delegate count a more experienced team might do. It also may say something about the kind of supporters Cruz and Trump attract. Cruz supporters in Colorado tend to be conservative activists, the kind of people that live for a delegate assembly. Trump supporters, not so much.

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It’s a nice day. The Double Tree Inn is packed. Outside voting is good.

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But… is ballot security an issue? Here is watchdog GOP troublemaker Marilyn Marks doing her thing:

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–John Tomasic

Challenges Mounted against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn

** Update: Results from the raucous CD-5 assembly will be announced later this afternoon.**

They come every election season, challenges in Colorado’s deep-red Congressional District 5 aimed at unseating U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

In speeches from the floor, Republicans assembled here at the Double Tree Inn ahead of Saturday’s state party assembly argued that Lamborn has betrayed his constituents by failing to declare war on ISIS and call for an impeachment vote against President Barack Obama.

Matthew Russell Grubesic, a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade and author who is running against Lamborn said he would be “embarrassed” to be Congressman Lamborn at a time when veterans have been treated so poorly. He said that illegal immigrants have been “receiving better monetary reward and care” than have the country’s veterans.

Grubesic said he is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment candidate and a graduate of the conservative Leadership Program of the Rockies.

Calandra Vargas, challenger to Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CD5), criticized the Republican Party for not recruiting enough women and young people to run for office. (Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)
Calandra Vargas, challenger to Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CD5), criticized the Republican Party for not recruiting enough women and young people to run for office. (Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)

Calandra Vargas, a young candidate from Colorado Springs, cited Lamborn’s tenure as a time that has delivered failures in the VA hospital system and a weak-willed Republican Party. She said, if elected to replace Lamborn, she would be the first woman to represent the CD 5. She sharply criticized the party for paying lip service young people and women yet continually supporting status quo old-white-male candidates.

Delegate Mark Arradonvo agreed. “We need younger people, we need people with passion – and you heard her, she was very passionate – and we need to learn more about her because those are the people the American public need to hear, not just the Republican establishment that people see. She was awesome.”

Vargas has worked as an aide in the campaign office of State Rep. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument). Although he has not offered an endorsement of Vargas, he believes she is “an incredibly attractive candidate who brings identity politics and a true heart and mind for liberty” to the table. He said that if she is not successful this year, she and other candidates like her are the kind of candidates to watch in the future.

Presidential Surrogates Give Rousing Speeches

Colorado Republicans crowd into ballrooms at the Colorado Springs Double Tree Inn April 8 to choose delegates to send to #RNC2016. The El Paso County assembly is pictured here. (Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)
Colorado Republicans crowd into ballrooms at the Colorado Springs Double Tree Inn April 8 to choose delegates to send to #RNC2016. The El Paso County assembly is pictured here. (Photo by Jennifer Kerns/The Colorado Statesman)

In preparation for Saturday’s final assemblies here at the World Arena where Republicans will choose delegates to send to the July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, a standing-room-only crowd gathered Friday in the ballroom of the in Colorado Springs Double Tree Hotel.

In the first round of speeches – made in support of the remaining three GOP Presidential candidates – former Sen. John Sununu, Jr. (R-NH) spoke as a surrogate for Ohio Governor John Kasich. “I have one mission, one goal right now, and that is to beat Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Sununu predicted that Kasich will win Colorado, but that doesn’t seem likely, as Kasich only polled at 1 percent in the Centennial State as of Super Tuesday, according to a Quinnipiac Poll.

Next up, Stephen Miller, senior adviser to Donald Trump and former aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Miller spoke on behalf of Donald Trump, invoking Kate Steinle who was killed by “a five-time deported illegal immigrant” in San Francisco last year. Miller pledged that Trump will stand up for Americans and cited the 17,000 border patrol agents who support the current national frontrunner in the party primary. Miller also appeared live on local talk radio in Colorado heading into the delegate assemblies, including The Peter Boyles Show on 710 KNUS.

As a surrogate for Sen. Ted Cruz, Colorado U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who is chairman of the state’s Cruz campaign, introduced Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), an Air Force veteran who gave a rousing speech centered on patriotism and standing up against illegal immigration. Lots of cheers and applause.

Delegates from Colorado's fifth congressional district at the Double Tree hotel in Colorado Springs on April 8. (Photo by Rep. Dan Nordberg)
Delegates from Colorado’s fifth congressional district at the Double Tree hotel in Colorado Springs on April 8. (Photo by state Rep. Dan Nordberg)

Jennifer Kerns

Jennifer Kerns

Jennifer Kerns is an executive editor at The Colorado Statesman. She is an accomplished conservative political writer and contributor to several national publications including The Blaze, The Washington Times, and The Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal. She also served as the communications director and spokeswoman for the 2013 Colorado recall elections to defend Coloradans' Second Amendment rights.