MADISON, Wis. — The 36 delegates that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won in Wisconsin are "locked in" for the Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Scott Walker promised Wednesday.
Cruz defeated Donald Trump overall in Wisconsin on Tuesday and in six of the state's eight congressional districts, giving him 36 delegates. Trump walked away with six delegates after winning the 3rd Congressional District in western Wisconsin and the 7th Congressional District in the northern part of the state.
The actual people who will serve as delegates from Wisconsin for the candidates at the Republican Party convention in Cleveland this summer are being selected at local caucus meetings over the next week. The 18 statewide delegates for Cruz will be chosen at the state party convention next month.
In an interview Wednesday with WTMJ radio in Milwaukee, Walker promised that those representing Cruz will be loyal to him if there is an open national party convention where many delegates would be free to back whomever they please. Many who oppose Trump are hoping delegates pledged to him will jump ship and back another candidate at the convention, while Trump is trying to ensure they stay loyal to him.
"Our voters here are locked in," Walker said of those pledged to Cruz as a result of his Wisconsin win. He said it was "very, very likely" that if Cruz does not win the majority of delegates before the convention he will get them there.
"Maybe not on the first, but I think on the second ballot Ted Cruz is the guy," Walker said.
Under Wisconsin state party rules, those delegates are obligated to vote for the pledged candidate in the first round. They can only switch in subsequent rounds if the candidate allows them to, or the candidate does not get at least a third of all votes cast. Rules in other states make it easier for delegates to switch allegiances on second ballots.
Trump continues to lead Cruz in delegate count overall, but his defeat in Wisconsin will make it harder to get the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the nomination before the convention. While both candidates are competing to win delegates through the primaries, they are also working behind the scenes to line up loyal delegates to represent them at the convention.
Cruz has been arguing that the race is down to him and Trump, and that talk of Ohio Gov. John Kasich or anyone else getting the nomination at an open convention is ridiculous. Walker said Wednesday that after Cruz's 13-point Wisconsin win, the nominee will be either Cruz or Trump.