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Cruz Backers Will Represent Washington GOP At National Convention

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Ted Cruz campaign director Saul Gamoran, right, consults with fellow Cruz supporters as their delegates practically swept elections at the state GOP convention in Pasco Saturday May 21, 2016.

The highly-organized Washington campaign for Ted Cruz all but swept the delegate elections at the state GOP convention in Pasco over the weekend.

That means Cruz backers will dominate Washington state’s delegation to the Republican national convention in Cleveland this July, although they’ll be bound on the first ballot based on the outcome of Washington's presidential primary on Tuesday.

Cruz state campaign director Saul Gamoran said Cruz delegates are not headed to Cleveland spoiling for a fight.

"We don't plan on being disruptive," Gamoran said, although he also said he can’t personally support the apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"Break the Cruz slate!"

On Saturday Vincent Marcy competed for one of the last of the 44 slots to represent Washington state in Cleveland. In his 30-second speech he identified himself to the crowd as "a free-thinking Trump supporter" and declared the Cruz campaign "on life support."

Near the end of his 30 seconds, Marcy held up a printed list of his fellow Washington delegate candidates who support Cruz.

Marcy said, "Break the Cruz slate!" He ripped the list apart and reminded the crowd of his name and delegate number so they could vote for him. Some cheered and others booed; he was not chosen to go on to Cleveland. Marcy was running for one of 11 at-large delegate seats that were all ultimately won by Cruz supporters, according to Washington GOP spokesman Steve Beren.

GOP candidate for governor won’t talk Trump

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant addressed the convention Friday night. State GOP chair Susan Hutchison announced Friday morning that Bryant would speak in the slot the party had been holding for Trump.

In the speech Bryant spoke of the Britannia jeans of his youth, the elderly priest who mentored him, disconnects between government policy and individual experiences, and his beliefs in equal opportunity for advancement. But no mention of the apparent presidential nominee.

In an interview with public radio Bryant said "we’ll have to see" whether Trump would be a good partner for Washington state.

"The presidential race is its own deal," Bryant said. "I'm running for governor."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris Vance has said he won’t vote for Trump for president.

Gamoran, Cruz's Washington campaign director, acknowledges Trump’s ascent.

"He's going to become the nominee," Gamoran added, "and we respect that. Our job is to focus on the platform and on the vice presidential nominee."

Delegates to the national GOP convention get to approve the presidential nominee's running mate.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."