Republican presidential nominee battle continues in Missouri

Missouri Republicans met Saturday to begin the key process of choosing delegates to represent them at their party’s national convention in July.

Registered voters across the state crowded into schools and conference centers to elect county-level party delegates who will later attend the district and statewide conventions, where they will pick the people who will cast votes at the national convention in Cleveland.

Supporters of Donald Trump, the national front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination and unofficial winner of Missouri’s March 15 primary, allege that backers of rival Ted Cruz plan to “steal” Trump’s Missouri delegates by packing the state’s delegation-selection process with as many Cruz supporters as possible.

But Cruz supporters, along with Missouri GOP officials, counter that what Cruz’s people are doing isn’t theft. Rather, they say, it’s just a logical strategy going into a presidential nomination. Carl Bearden, a backer of Cruz, noted “it isn’t over until someone gets to 1,237,” the number of required delegates that Trump or Cruz will have to win nationally to become the Republican presidential nominee when the GOP convenes its national convention.

If no one shows up at the convention with 1,237 delegates, it means the nominee won’t be chosen on the first ballot among the delegates. That means there will be a second and possibly subsequent ballots. Many Republicans believe their national convention will be contested – that no candidate will have enough pledged delegates to claim the nomination by July.

If that’s the case, the loyalties of the state’s 52 convention delegates will be critical to the outcome. If the contest extends to a second ballot or more, delegates chosen Saturday will be free to vote for anyone.

Missouri’s official GOP winner will be announced Tuesday.

Read more: Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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