Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Texas
senator's delegate operations manager, said on ABC's "This Week"
that the Trump campaign is challenging the delegate selection
process "because they're getting beat on the ground."
Cuccinelli and Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as well
as the third Republican candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, traded
punches over the delegate selection process on Sunday news shows.
Trump remains the front-runner in the race to be the Republican
Party's candidate in November's general election. But it remains
unclear whether the billionaire businessman will arrive at the
party's July 18-21 convention in Cleveland with the 1,237-delegate
majority needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot.
The next big face-off is New York state's primary on Tuesday, with
95 delegates at stake.
Opinion polls show Trump, a New Yorker, well ahead of his rivals,
with Kasich and Cruz trailing behind.
The latest CBS News poll, released on Sunday, showed Trump ahead in
New York, with 54 percent of those surveyed to 21 percent for Cruz
and 19 percent for Kasich.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator
and U.S. secretary of state, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of
Vermont will also face New York voters on Tuesday. Polls show
Clinton is still favored to win, although Sanders, a New York City
native who is hoping for an upset win to ensure the continued
viability of his campaign, has managed to narrow the gap in recent
Trump, meanwhile, has become increasingly agitated as the Cruz
campaign outmaneuvers him in the complex art of securing delegates
that are not simply allocated by a popular vote.
At a news conference in New York City's Staten Island borough on
Sunday, he repeated his assertion that the system was "crooked."
"You're basically buying these people," he said, referring to
"I could put them in the best planes and bring them to the best
places in the world," he added. But he said he was not interested in
wooing delegates that way, describing it as undemocratic.
The party rules for picking delegates vary by state.
Cuccinelli said Cruz has been "winning elections. And when we win,
[to top of second column]
"This is a banana republic approach from the Trump team," he said.
"... They have a media campaign. But Ted Cruz has built a grassroots
On "Fox News Sunday," Trump's Lewandowski pointed to Florida, where
the candidate won the primary in a landslide. But Trump can count on
the support of only 69 of the state's 99 delegates because the state
Republican Party chairman is allowed to appoint 30.
"Ted Cruz does well in places where party bosses get to set those
rules and people don't get to go and vote," Lewandowski said.
Another senior Trump adviser, delegate selection specialist Paul
Manafort, told ABC the campaign will protest results in Missouri and
But in several interviews on Sunday, Republican National Committee
Chairman Reince Priebus again denied that the delegate selection
rules are rigged against Trump.
Kasich ridiculed Trump and his campaign for suggesting the delegate
selection rules are fixed and that a "dirty trick" allowed Cruz to
win Colorado's nominating contest without a statewide vote.
Kasich, interviewed by CNN, said Trump should "act like you're a
professional. Be a pro."
(This story corrects New York state poll numbers in 7th paragraph)
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, Lisa Lambert and David Shepardson in
Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Writing by David
Shepardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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