GOP front-runner Donald Trump Saturday morning accused Wyoming, where Republicans are gathering this weekend to pick the 14 delegates they will send to this summer's convention, as being another place where "the bosses pick the people," signaling that another win for rival Ted Cruz could keep his fight about the nation's delegate system going into another week.
"Wyoming actually said they're going to save costs, and didn't want to go to an election with the people," Trump told Fox News' "Fox and Friends"
program in an early morning telephone interview.
"They said that yesterday, and I said wow, that's something," said Trump. "I'm funding my own campaign, and I'm putting up my own money. I'm not going to go out and waste a lot of money...I don't want to waste money going to Wyoming, sending crews for months and months knowing you're not going to beat the bosses. I've beaten the bosses."
Republicans in Wyoming are gathering on Saturday in a process that mirrors the one held in Colorado, reports Fox News,
which led to a fierce fight between Trump and the Republican National Committee this week.
Like in Colorado, Trump has not been campaigning actively in Wyoming. However, Cruz plans to be in the western state to make a last-minute appeal, and could come away with delegates as a result.
"To me, the ground game is starting early and starting at your most local, smallest enclave," Ed Buchanan, Cruz's Wyoming chairman, told Fox. "It galvanizes the conservative support for a candidate that visits the state," Buchanan said.
Usually, Wyoming does not garner a great deal of attention, but this time, the convention is being held following a full week of Trump protests against the election system, including a Wall Street Journal opinion piece
to drive home his opinion that the delegate voting method rigs the election in favor of "establishment" candidates.
Wyoming leaders, though, insist their rules were set long before Trump or anyone else announced their candidacy.
"Every presidential candidate for the last 40 years has managed this process and has worked through this process and has followed the process that we have in Wyoming," state GOP Chairman Matt Micheli told Fox News. "We are simply following the rules that are in place and that have been in place for a long time."
Further, Micheli said that state party officials have communicated with all the campaigns, and he's given them all his own personal cell phone number so they can call him directly with questions.
"The state party is completely neutral," he said. "We want all the candidates to have a fair playing field."
But Trump on Saturday morning said he does not want to "waste millions of dollars" on Wyoming, "knowing the system is rigged."
"I don't want to waste millions of dollars going out to Wyoming, many months before to wine and dine and to essentially pay off all these people, because a lot of it's a payoff, you understand that, treat them, take them to dinner, get them hotels, the whole thing is a big payoff," said Trump. "I've understood this for a long time, never said anything because frankly I wasn't involved in politics other than on the other side."
Wyoming, though, has skipped full primary elections in the past and chosen to go with a state convention because in the past, the presumptive nominee has been decided by this point in the election. The caucus system is funded exclusively by the state parties, saving taxpayers money.
Voters at GOP precinct caucuses pick delegates to county conventions, from which voters select 12 national delegates and others for the state convention. Then, those attending the state convention choose 14 delegates to go on to the national level.
"It's a system that encourages people to be engaged and to be involved," Micheli said. "It works."
Cruz, though, has already gathered nine pledged delegates at the county caucuses, held last month, with Trump getting one and Marco Rubio, who was still running, getting another. One delegate was elected without being pledged.
And even though Ohio Gov. John Kasich does not expect to do well in the state, his campaign has still met with delegates in hopes of gaining support should there be a brokered convention in Cleveland.
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