After a big win in Wisconsin earlier this month, it looks like the all-important statewide delegate selection process could leave Team Cruz at a serious disadvantage. I’m told by several people familiar with the situation that the constitution of the Republican Party of Wisconsin gives the presidential campaign that wins the state’s popular vote the prerogative of picking 15 of the 18 statewide delegates and 18 of the state’s 18 alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Though Governor Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz and clearly has a close working relationship with the Wisconsin GOP, the Republican Party of Wisconsin released its final statewide delegate list on Tuesday morning, and sources tell me the list is not what the Cruz campaign wanted.
Only four of the 18 delegates on the GOP list were on the list the Cruz campaign sent the state party, meaning the state party ignored its own rules that require it to honor the wishes of the Cruz campaign in naming 15 of the 18 statewide delegates. Among the 18 alternates, not a single one of them was from the original Cruz campaign list.
Here’s the wording of Article X Section 6 of the Wisconsin GOP constitution:
“At-Large delegates and At-Large alternate delegates shall be selected by the committee of the candidate receiving a plurality of the statewide votes in the Presidential Primary, and a list of said delegates and alternate delegates shall be ratified by the State Executive Committee. It shall be understood that the candidate’s committee shall have final approval of the list of At-Large delegates and alternate delegates.”
That provision seems pretty clear. The “committee of the candidate” will select the delegates and that list “shall be ratified by the State Executive Committee.” That does not appear to be happening here.
It seems that not only did the state GOP ignore the Cruz campaign’s delegate list, but the state GOP wants to put Rubio and Kasich supporters on the delegate slate. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson led the Kasich campaign in Wisconsin and he’s headed to Cleveland as a delegate from Wisconsin. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was the Rubio campaign co-chair in Wisconsin until Rubio dropped out, and has repeatedly expressed his distaste for Cruz, going so far as to “endorse” Cruz before the primary because “our only hope is going to a brokered convention.”
The rest of the list – minus Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Sen. Duey Stroebel and state Rep. Dean Knudson – is a miscellaneous collection of party insiders who stayed on the sidelines, outright opposed, or barely supported Cruz during the primary. The list is evidence of what Katie Glueck wrote about at the Politico just before Wisconsin’s primary: some of the GOP establishment in the state was holding its nose to vote for Cruz, but didn’t like him at all.
It is not clear how, and if, the Cruz campaign will challenge this slate of delegates. Walker may be talking about joining Cruz on the campaign trail in Indiana, but his decision to double down on supporting the eventual nominee – including Trump – last week and this move by his state party to ignore their own rules and steamroll the Cruz campaign make it seem like fractures are appearing in a once-promising alliance.