WASHINGTON — Donald Trump needs every delegate he can win — and when he hasn’t won them, especially at state conventions, he has threatened dramatic recourse, like the prospect of suing in Louisiana.
But a Trump-backing delegate in Louisiana has rebutted Trump's complaints, writing that Trump's campaign was "simply out organized" in the state.
Jennifer Madsen is a delegate committed to Trump in the 2nd district of Louisiana. On her Facebook page on March 30, Madsen wrote that “Trump’s Delegates are Not Being Stolen.”
"I am very sorry to say that the Trump Campaign was simply out organized," Madsen wrote. "Making phone calls to your fellow committee members isn’t fraud. That is how a Representative Republic works."
Trump’s complaints stem from the results of the primary election vs. the results of the delegate election.
He won the Louisiana primary with a plurality (41.8%) of the vote, but he and Ted Cruz both came away from it with 18 delegates each. But there are more delegates, as well. Marco Rubio won five, who are now freed up because he dropped out of the race, and there are an additional five unbound delegates. The Wall Street Journal reported that those 10 delegates were likely to go with Cruz. And at the state convention, no Trump supporters were chosen to fill Louisiana’s six spots on crucial committees at the national convention.
Trump threatened to sue over the delegate results from Louisiana, tweeting on March 27, "Just to show you how unfair Republican primary politics can be, I won the State of Louisiana and get less delegates than Cruz-Lawsuit coming."
Madsen, the Trump supporter, argued in her Facebook post that the there wasn’t much unfair about the process.
"National Delegation officers and Committee Members were elected by the National Delegates immediately after the State Convention," Madsen wrote. "This wasn’t a secret meeting. The time to elect officers has been part of the LAGOP’s rules since October 2015 and is posted on the LAGOP’s website. The State Trump Chairman and Co-Chairman for Louisiana were in attendance. Again, there was no notice from Trump Campaign encouraging our National Delegates and Alternates to attend. This is not the LAGOP’s job to organize each campaign. We did not organize as well as we could have."
On her Facebook page, Madsen criticized Trump's lawsuit threat, writing, “I am not sure who Trump thinks he is going to sue. However, threatening to sue someone is a poor way to get them to vote for you.” She added in a comment, "The State Party is not responsible for how unbound delegates vote. It is their choice. Does he plan on suing the delegates?"
Speaking to BuzzFeed News on Friday, Madsen said "I would like to say that the system we have now is the most fair system the LAGOP has ever seen."
"My main goal with that was to try and dissuade some of the anger towards the state party," Madsen said. "When this election's over, it’s going to be the same names and faces on team Cruz and team Trump that are going to be fighting bad policies in the the state legislature."
An at-large Trump delegate, Michael Duke Lowrie, shared Madsen's post to his own Facebook page and said "Awesome explanation to the supposed LAGOP delegate problem." And an at-large Trump alternate delegate, Wayne Ryan, also commented on Madsen’s post, as well, saying "The Trump team was caught off guard by the whole process." Lowrie and Ryan didn't immediately return requests for comment.
The Trump campaign has repeatedly run into problems in the delegate allocation process, an important part of a presidential campaign and something that is particularly important this year with the prospect of a possible contested convention. Trump has recently made efforts to professionalize his operation, hiring veteran Republican strategist Paul Manafort to run the delegate efforts, but the move came too late to salvage losses in states like Colorado and North Dakota.
Cruz is trying to pick up every delegate he can in an effort to hold Trump under the 1237 necessary to win the nomination outright. If no one hits that number by the end of the primaries, the nomination will be decided at the convention.
A Trump spokesperson didn't immediately return a request for comment.