Real estate mogul Donald Trump is now getting schlonged by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the delegate fight in Missouri.
Trump won Missouri on March 15 by a razor-thin margin of 0.2 percentage points, resulting in Trump winning 37 of Missouri's 52 delegates. However, Cruz's superb ground game has outwitted Trump yet again, as GOP operatives told The Washington Examiner that most of Trump's delegates will be Cruz supporters that will bolt for Cruz after the first ballot.
Missouri's delegate selection began at the county caucuses on April 9, and the delegates elected at the caucuses will be subject to an election in congressional districts. The final delegate selection will occur at the state convention on May 20-21.
Cruz's team had prepared for this process months in advance, as they have amassed "leadership teams and dispatching field volunteers to establish relationships with local grassroots Republicans" and enlisted delegate candidates "without any competition from Trump or [Ohio Gov. John} Kasich" in numerous instances. The Cruz team has also reached out to Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Dr. Ben Carson's supporters. The fruits of their labor have paid off so far in Missouri.
"It worked out really well for us last week at the caucuses — better than I expected, because the Trump people did not come in with slates," Bev Ehlen, co-chairman of Cruz's Missouri campaign, told the Examiner. "With our numbers, it should be just maintenance from here on out; just making sure our voters are where there are supposed to be when they're supposed to be there, because our numbers are just that strong."
The Trump campaign did not make a sustained effort in the detailed groundwork to win the delegates.
"The Trump people, about eight days before the [county] caucuses — that's when they really launched their effort," an anonymous Republican insider told the Examiner. "It's almost impossible to mount a mobilization for the caucuses on such short notice because it's complex and there are so many rules. They tried, but not surprisingly, it did not end well for them."
"With our numbers, it should be just maintenance from here on out; just making sure our voters are where there are supposed to be when they're supposed to be there, because our numbers are just that strong."
Bev Ehlen, co-chairman of Ted Cruz's Missouri campaign
As a result, Cruz is expected to "dominate" in six out of eight congressional district elections.
Missouri is one of the 13 states in which Trump has faced delegate setbacks, and it's now easy to see why. The Trump campaign is only good at one thing: whining and moaning about the process, and that's what they plan to do, as Trump's convention manager Paul Manafort has indicated that they will file a complaint against Missouri for their delegate process. Meanwhile, Cruz continues to position himself as the likely winner of a contested convention that goes beyond the first ballot.