N. Dakota Picks Cruz-Friendly GOP Delegates
But they will remain unbound at convention
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2016 12:33 AM CDT
Sen. Ted Cruz addresses more than 1,600 delegates at the North Dakota Republican Convention in Fargo, ND, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

(Newser) – North Dakota's GOP convention finished Sunday with the selection of 25 unbound delegates to the Republican National Convention—though that didn't stop Ted Cruz's campaign from declaring itself the winner after days of wrangling for delegates. At the convention, which the state GOP holds instead of a primary or caucus, 18 of the 25 delegates selected were on a list of the Cruz campaign's preferences, though they will be free to vote for any candidate at the July convention, CNN reports. Some of the delegates on the Cruz slate told Politico that they were only leaning toward Cruz, and at least two said they actually prefer John Kasich.

A request to have the delegates openly state their preferred choice of candidate failed by a 611-748 vote, the Bismarck Tribune reports. With a contested GOP convention now a strong possibility, the candidates will keep trying to woo the North Dakota delegates until July. Cruz spoke at the convention, telling the assembled Republicans that if "we nominate Donald Trump, it hands the general election to Hillary Clinton with a big silver bow," PBS reports. Ben Carson was among those who spoke in support of Trump, though not with great enthusiasm: He said he initially thought "maybe the best thing would be to remain neutral," but he decided it was time for the party to unite behind a candidate.