Ted Cruz backers lose bid to pack Georgia GOP delegate slate

Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich debate take part in the Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Houston in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz debate at the University of Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Augusta – Ted Cruz allies were soundly defeated Saturday in a last-minute bid to challenge a slate of more than two dozen Georgia delegates to the Republican National Convention packed with Donald Trump’s allies.

The Texas senator’s allies cast the challenge to replace the 31 statewide delegates up for grabs at the Georgia GOP convention as a fight between “the grass-roots and the establishment,” but Trump supporters saw it as sour grapes and vigorously opposed it.

The Cruz supporters didn’t aim to block Trump from the nomination – that’s a foregone conclusion – but they want to influence the party’s platform this year and the nomination rules for the 2020 race, which will be decided at July’s meeting in Cleveland.

Cruz’s allies have already outmaneuvered Trump’s campaign in Georgia by winning a majority of the 42 delegates up for grabs at district conventions in April. But that was in the throes of the primary, when both Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were still in the race. Both abandoned the contest after a string of defeats, and the billionaire last month clinched the 1,237 delegates he needs to lock up the nomination.

Still, Cruz’s forces have fought on in other states, aiming to secure spots on committees that decide the convention rules and party platform that could help a potential Cruz run in 2020 by, say, restricting Republican primaries to only registered GOP voters. (Trump’s campaign relied on independents and newcomers to lock up the nomination.)

Here’s a list of the 31 delegates and 31 alternates headed to Cleveland:


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