Ah, the power of Drudge. Larry Wayne Lindsey was locked out of the state GOP convention this weekend, made a YouTube video about his unhappiness replete with a dramatic burning of his party registration, saw the video get top-page treatment on the exceedingly pro-Trump Drudge Report, and today he’s doing the rounds on cable news. Understandably so: It’s big news if any delegate is squeezed out of a convention he has a right to attend, especially if he’s being squeezed out for political reasons, to undermine his favored candidate.
Did he have a right to attend, though? Mollie Hemingway talked to Colorado GOP officials. They concede that Lindsey was indeed duly elected as a delegate at his precinct caucus. But in his county, precinct caucuses don’t elect delegates to the state convention; they elect delegates to the county caucus. That’s the one Lindsey was supposed to attend. It’s the county caucus that elects the delegates to the state convention, and then the state convention elects delegates to the national convention in July. According to state party officials, Lindsey apparently never showed up at the county caucus so he couldn’t have been elected to the state convention.
In fact, according to a series of conversations with party officials, while Lindsey did show up to his precinct caucus and was elected as a delegate to the county assembly, he never showed up to the county assembly, or, at the very least, never signed in for his credentials. On Facebook, he erroneously claimed he’d been elected as a delegate to the state assembly from his precinct caucus, something that is not possible under the rules in Douglas County.
“Since Mr. Lindsey did not attend the County District Assembly he was not elected to be a delegate to the State Assembly, nor could he have been, so there is no way that he would have been listed as a delegate to the State Convention when he tried to check in on Saturday morning,” Tanne Blackburn, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party, explained in a press release.
Normally you’d expect a campaign to help local activists navigate the multi-tiered delegate selection process, but this is the Trump campaign and, as Paul Manafort admitted yesterday, “we weren’t playing in Colorado.” (Trump was initially scheduled to speak at the convention but canceled last week once it seemed clear it would be a lost cause.) It could be that Lindsey simply made an error about how the process worked; some Trump supporters did make it to the state convention floor in Colorado this weekend, although not enough to prevent Cruz from sweeping the national delegate elections. On the other hand, Lindsey wrote this on his Facebook page yesterday:
This year, I decided that as important as this election is to the future of our nation, that I needed to be involved in the Colorado Caucus. I attended the Douglas County Assembly, and then the County Caucus and was elected as a delegate.
I do not know the people involved with the Douglas County GOP. I do not know their faces, or their names, or really anything else about them. The names I know, were those given me upon introduction in person, or over the phone.
If he was elected as a delegate at the county caucus then he should have been entitled to attend the state convention. I googled around to see if the Douglas County GOP published the names of delegates elected at the county caucus on March 1st but came up empty. That would answer definitively whether Lindsey’s mistaken here or the state GOP is. Presumably someone, whether local Republicans or Lindsey himself, has documentation of the outcome at the county level earlier last month. Until we see that, there’s no way to know who’s mistaken. Even if Hemingway’s right, though, that Lindsey got mixed up, this is sure to be phase two of Trump’s defense for why he lost Colorado. Trump can’t be seen as having lost a fair fight; if he’s defeated, there must be foul play afoot, whatever his own campaign officials may say about their weakness in Colorado. Cruz not only knows this playbook, he’s taken to joking about it with his audiences. Exit quotation from Andy McCarthy: “The mogul’s business career is a stream of ‘win, win, win’ braggadocio interrupted by lots of huge losses resulting from huge miscalculations. Don’t expect his political career to turn out differently.”