A day after being trounced by Sen. Ted Cruz in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted the state party's process for selecting national delegates and called into question the results.Why Even Hold Elections?
"The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!" Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday evening.
Moments earlier, he posted a tweet that asked: "How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger — totally unfair!"
The Cruz campaign ran the table in Colorado, capturing all 34 delegates at a series of seven congressional district meetings this month and the state party convention Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Colorado GOP leaders canceled the party's presidential straw poll in August to avoid binding its delegates to a candidate who may not survive until the Republican National Convention in July.
Instead, Republicans selected national delegates through the caucus process, a move that put the election of national delegates in the hands of party insiders and activists — leaving roughly 90 percent of the more than 1 million Republican voters on the sidelines.
The decision sparked significant controversy at the time and removed Colorado from the Republican primary map in the early stages of the campaign. But Cruz supporters worked quietly behind the scenes to build an organization to get like-minded Republicans to the March 1 precinct caucuses and capitalized on the Trump campaign's failure to adapt to the system.
Trump's campaign didn't put a visible paid staffer on the ground in Colorado until last week, when it hired Patrick Davis, a Colorado Springs political consultant, to organize national delegate candidates at the 7th Congressional District convention in Arvada. By then, Cruz had won the first six delegates.
Even then, the energy behind Trump's campaign didn't materialize in support. He managed to win only seven alternate delegates.
The Trump campaign's list of preferred national delegates distributed at the state convention on Saturday was riddled with errors and misspellings that only further hurt its chances.
The problems with Trump's ballots — and the candidate's comments — raise questions about whether Colorado will figure prominently into a challenge at the national convention about the state's delegates.
Ahead of the state convention, a Trump campaign strategist said it made the strategic decision not to compete in Colorado because the caucus system favored party insiders.
Trump skipped the state party convention, where Cruz gave a rousing speech that galvanized his supporters.
In an interview at the event, Cruz said Trump was "scared" to attend because he "doesn't handle losing well."
Powered at first by volunteer organizers, the Cruz campaign began working to win delegates months ago and amplified the efforts in January when it brought U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, on board as state chairman. The campaign also teamed with controversial conservative organizations, such as the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Gun Owners of America and religious liberty groups, to rally support.
The Colorado Republican Party only exacerbated the fears of the Trump camp on Saturday when it tweeted after Cruz claimed victory at the convention: "We did it. #NeverTrump."
A second after the tweet, a state party spokesman came running into the press box at the convention and shouted "it wasn't us!"
The party quickly deleted the tweet and posted: "The last tweet was the result of unauthorized access to our account and in no way represents the opinion of the party. We are investigating."
The party's spokesman, Kyle Kohli, said Sunday evening the investigation is ongoing and the party is examining its IP login history.
The party declined to comment on Trump's tweets about the process.