Ted Cruz is continuing to pick up delegates in the lead-up to the high-stakes nominating contests Tuesday that could knock two of his Republican rivals out of the race for the White House.
The handful of contests in recent days and hours have been more complex than others, and most do not lend themselves to immediate victories or losses. But by Saturday evening, Cruz was chipping away at Trump’s lead over him in the delegate hunt.
The Texas senator’s biggest boost came in Wyoming, where he was set to collect at least nine out of 12 delegates up for grabs Saturday. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and billionaire Donald Trump were each winning one delegate.
As the results came in Saturday evening, Cruz redoubled his case that he is the most viable alternative to Trump.
“We are the only campaign that has beaten Donald not once, not twice, not three times, but as of tonight, with Wyoming, nine different times,” Cruz told supporters at a rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The results Saturday only tell part of the story in Wyoming, which offer 29 delegates in total. The 12 delegates that were awarded Saturday were done so at county conventions, while 14 more will be doled out at the state convention next month. The remaining three delegates are automatic.
The District of Columbia also held its nominating contest Saturday. Rubio won with 37 percent of the vote, while Cruz came in last with 12 percent of the vote. Ten of the District’s 19 delegates went to Rubio, while the rest went to runner-up John Kasich.
The loss in the District is likely one Cruz can live with given his constant railing against the seat of the federal government. His supporters moved quickly Saturday night to portray the outcome as a sign of the Republican establishment’s embrace of Rubio.
Two other contests have played out elsewhere in recent days: the Virgin Islands and Guam. Six delegates were at stake in both places, yet all but one elected were uncommitted to a particular candidate. The exception was Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, who is supporting Cruz.
The string of low-key contests are unfolding in the shadow of Tuesday, when many more delegates are up for grabs as part of the winner-take-all primaries in Florida and Ohio. The two states offer do-or-die moments for Kasich and Rubio, who are both scrambling to shore up support at home.