After losing all of Colorado’s 34 delegates to Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump called the Centennial State’s process for selecting those delegates “rigged.”
“We’ve got a corrupt system,” he told a crowd shortly after the selection on Saturday. “It’s not right. We’re supposed to be a democracy.”
RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer told MSNBC there's nothing rigged about the system in Colorado. It's complicated, to be sure, but it’s not corrupted.
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“Running for office entails putting a campaign together that understands the process,” he said. “There’s nothing rigged. It’s all out in the open. It’s for anyone to see.”
Trump’s claims about corruption in the process are baseless, especially since the Colorado caucus hasn’t changed since the last election in 2012.
Here’s how the three-tiered voting system works: On March 1, 65,000 registered Republican voters caucused at their precincts, debating who to nominate for the county assemblies. That’s step one.
Those nominees then met and voted for another group of about 3,000 people. That’s step two.
Those 3,000 people represent everyone at the state convention and the congressional districts where the national delegates are selected.
The only difference this year is that Colorado abandoned its straw poll.
A new rule by the Republican National Committee says delegates must be bound to vote for the winner of a straw poll, and since Colorado’s straw poll was historically non-binding, the state opted out entirely.
Colorado Republican Party spokesman, Kyle Kohli, says that decision had no impact on the delegate outcome.
“The reason the straw poll existed in the first place was just something that was conducted ‘for show’ and to indicate which way the party was leaning,” he said in an email.
NBC Bay Area reached out to the Trump campaign for this story, but didn’t receive a response.
Another factor to consider in Colorado is that Ted Cruz spent the weekend there, campaigning at the state convention where delegate selection took place. Donald Trump and his team did not.