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The Latest: Trump backers yell foul over Arizona party loss

May 1, 2016

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on the Arizona Republican Party convention (all times local):

6 p.m.

Supporters of businessman Donald Trump in Arizona screamed foul after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won a large majority of the 58 delegates to the Republican national convention during a state party meeting.

Trump campaign chair Jeff DeWit angrily yelled that “Trump got cheated” after it became clear that delegates to Saturday’s state party convention had elected Cruz backers for virtually all the 28 at-large national delegates. The two roughly split the 27 delegates elected by congressional district.

Former Gov. Jan Brewer failed to win a delegate seat at July’s convention and was visibly angry, saying she “got cheated.”

But Cruz campaign organizer Constantin Querard says simple math led to the at-large victory. Cruz offered a nearly identical slate of candidates as John Kasich backers and the combined votes led to a win.

State party chairman Robert Graham says the election ran correctly and said DeWit was making unsupported accusations.

The elected delegates will be bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot at July’s national GOP convention regardless of Saturday’s results. That’s because he beat Cruz and Kasich in the state’s presidential primary.

3:20 p.m.

The first round of voting by Arizona Republican Party convention delegates for representatives to the national convention has netted a split decision between businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Both camps say they won the majority of the 27 delegates available in voting by congressional district.

Cruz organizer Constantin Querard says the Texas senator got 16 delegates in the early voting, with Trump getting 9 and two for John Kasich.

State Treasurer Jeff DeWit says Trump won 14 of the 27, but he’s counting Gov. Doug Ducey, who publically says he’s uncommitted.

There’s no clear result because some candidates were on both slates.

Next up is a vote for 28 at-large delegates.

The elected delegates will be bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot at July’s national GOP convention regardless of Saturday’s results. That’s because he beat Cruz and John Kasich in the state’s presidential primary.

If Trump gets the required 1,237 delegates on the first ballot he’s get the Republican presidential nomination the fight is over. Cruz is pulling out all the stops at state conventions to get delegates elected who back him in case Trump doesn’t get a first ballot majority.

More than 1,200 delegates to the state convention are eligible to vote.

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1:10 p.m.

Delegates to the Arizona Republican Party convention have finished the first round of voting for delegates to the national convention.

The more than 1,200 eligible state delegates were voting at Saturday’s convention in Mesa for 55 of 58 national delegates. Three delegates automatically go to the convention, including state party chairman Robert Graham.

The first round of balloting was by congressional district and will elect 27 national delegates — three from each district. That round happened before a lunch break and no results have been announced,

Afternoon voting will select 28 at-large delegates.

The elected national delegates will be bound to vote for businessman Donald Trump on the first ballot because he beat Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the state’s presidential primary.

But a fight is brewing over who the delegates will support if Trump doesn’t get the required 1,237 delegates on the first ballot.

Backers of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are working to get their slate of delegates elected, while Trump’s supporters are pushing their slate.

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10:45 a.m.

Gov. Doug Ducey has opened the Arizona Republican Party’s state convention by calling on the party faithful to end Democratic control of the White House.

Ducey called the past eight years “the most futile in modern American history” and told the party faithful that it’s time to “put a Republican in the White House and Hillary Clinton in the Big House.”

Ducey’s opening speech in Mesa came as hundreds of delegates to the state convention prepare to elect 55 of 58 Arizona delegates to the national convention in July.

Those delegates elected Saturday will be bound to vote for businessman Donald Trump as the party’s presidential candidate on the first ballot because he beat Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the state’s presidential primary.

But a fight is brewing over who the delegates will support if Trump doesn’t get the required 1,237 delegates on the first ballot.

Backers of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are working to get their slate of delegates elected, while Trump’s supporters are pushing their slate.

State Treasurer Jeff DeWit says it’s time for the party to get behind Trump, who he says it nearing a lock on the nomination with more than 1,000 delegates.

Cruz organizer Constantin Querard told the delegates he knows there’s lots of people who think the primary fight is over. But he says there’s increasing recognition that the Cruz campaign is basically the only campaign that can win the nomination and the general election against the Democratic nominee.

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1 a.m.

Arizona Republicans are in Mesa for the state party convention, where they’ll elect 55 of 58 delegates to the national GOP convention.

Those delegates elected Saturday will be bound to vote for businessman Donald Trump as the party’s presidential candidate on the first ballot because he beat Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the state’s March 22 presidential primary.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a fight.

The battle will be over whether the delegate slates from the Trump or Cruz camps win the day at the daylong convention. Weeks of wrangling among Republican insiders have set the stage for a state convention fight that Cruz supporters hope helps keep their candidate in the mix if Trump doesn’t collect the 1,237 delegates across the nation he needs to win outright.

Cruz supporters have been working to get his delegates elected to the state convention during legislative and congressional district meetings in recent weeks. Trump backers have been incensed at what they call maneuvering by the Texas senator’s backers to “pack” the convention.

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