BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Republicans on Saturday selected 27 of the state’s 42 delegates to the GOP National Convention, where rivals of presidential candidate Donald Trump hope he will fail to get the required number of delegate-votes needed to win the nomination.
The possibility that front-runner Trump will fail to win the magic tally of 1,237 votes on a first ballot has the two remaining GOP presidential hopefuls — Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — scrambling to line up delegates who will support them on a second vote, when delegates can vote for whichever candidate they want.
The Trump campaign, caught off guard by the selection of delegates in other states, released a slate of 27 delegates and 27 alternates in Massachusetts — all loyal Trump supporters.
At least 22 of the 27 delegates elected Saturday were included on Trump’s slate of preferred delegates, which could help him avoid losing votes on a second or subsequent ballot at the convention.
Massachusetts Republicans elected the 27 delegates at nine caucuses, three each in the state’s nine congressional districts.
Heading into the caucuses, the only confirmed delegates from Massachusetts were state party chair Kirsten Hughes, national committeeman Ron Kaufman and national committeewoman Chanel Prunier. Prunier has said she plans to vote for Cruz on any subsequent ballots if Trump fails on a first ballot.
A final 12 at-large delegates will be elected by the Massachusetts Republican State Committee on May 25.
Trump won more than 49 percent of the GOP primary vote in Massachusetts. It was his biggest victory until New York.
That entitles him to 22 Massachusetts delegates who are bound to vote for him on the first round of voting at the convention. Eight delegates are bound to Kasich, eight are bound to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has suspended his presidential campaign, and four are bound to Cruz.
The state’s top Republican — Gov. Charlie Baker — skipped the caucuses and also won’t be attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland from July 18-21. Baker says he wants to focus on his day job.
It isn’t certain which candidate Baker prefers, although he has said he’s not willing to vote for Trump, even if he emerges as the party’s nominee. And he has reservations about Cruz.
He briefly endorsed Chris Christie before the New Jersey governor dropped out of the race.