COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Campaign 2016 came to Colorado this weekend. Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was in Colorado Springs on Saturday for the state’s Republican Assembly.
CBS4’s Political Specialist Shaun Boyd sat down with the Texas senator for an interview before he addressed his crowd of supporters.
Cruz had been quietly building a campaign in Colorado for months and it has paid off. He took all 13 delegates up for grabs on Saturday to complete a clean sweep. He had already swept all seven Congressional District conventions held over the last week in Colorado which added another 21 delegates. Another three delegates are reserved for state party officials.
The growing possibility of a contested convention made for a record turnout in Colorado Springs. Some 8,000 Republicans from around the state attended the Assembly on Saturday.
“God bless the great state of Colorado,” Cruz told the crowd.
Cruz was the first presidential candidate to speak at the state convention in 40 years. When he sat down with Boyd before taking the stage he insisted that while he has railed against the Republican Party for years, he is the one to unite it.
“Two of the big swing votes in Colorado (are) Hispanics and women. How do you win in Colorado if you can’t do well with these two groups?” Boyd asked Cruz.
“Look, I agree that any candidate who is not doing well, that is not earning support, is not going to win. I think the reason why we have been winning over and over again is that we are uniting Republicans, we’re bringing people together,” Cruz said.
But in a state where most voters are pro-immigration reform and pro-choice, he has his work cut out him. Saturday’s convention was held only a couple miles from the where the Planned Parenthood shooting occurred. Cruz condemned it.
“You are never justified taking violence into your own hands,” he told Boyd.
He also weighed in on legalized marijuana, saying he is opposed to it, but it is a state rights issue. His Libertarian leanings and evangelical roots make him a strong contender in Colorado where for the first time ever delegates weren’t already pledged and the nomination already decided before the convention.
“We chiseled our first delegate ballots in rock,” said a man who has been attending the convention for more than 30 years.
“There are not as many white-haired, wrinkly dudes this year,” another man said. “This year is very different. This one is alive.”
It’s because the Republicans know how valuable Colorado’s delegates will be if the national convention is contested.
“I believe we will earn a majority in Cleveland at that convention. The men and women that have been elected here in Colorado are going to be vital to making that happen,” Cruz said.
Republicans also narrowed the list of candidates vying to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet. There were nine candidates but Darryl Glenn got the needed votes. He’s a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and currently serves as a commissioner in El Paso County. Four other Republicans will now try to petition onto the ballot.