Trump Arises Victorious At Mass. Republican Caucuses

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop in Indianapolis on April 27. (Darron Cummings/AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop in Indianapolis on April 27. (Darron Cummings/AP)

Before Saturday's GOP caucuses, the big question was: Will delegates committed to supporting Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in July continue to support the party's front-runner after the first ballot?

The answer to that question seems to be a resounding yes, as Trump supporters swept seven of the state's nine congressional districts up for grabs during Saturday's caucuses.

Of the 27 delegates elected Saturday to cast their votes at the convention in Cleveland, at least 23 are essentially certain to throw their support behind Trump after the first round of voting.

A total of 17 of the 22 delegates who must vote for Trump in the first round at this summer's national convention were selected on Saturday. Trump earned those 22 delegates by getting nearly half the vote in the state's March 1 primary.

Meanwhile, four of the eight delegates bound to vote for Kasich in the first round were also chosen during Saturday's caucuses. Rubio has total of eight delegates voting for him in the first ballot, with four of them elected Saturday. Finally, Cruz has a total of four delegates that will vote for him in the first round; two of them were also chosen Saturday.

At the 8th Congressional District caucus in Braintree on Saturday — where two delegates for Donald Trump and one for Rubio were being elected — Louis Murray, of Quincy, an ardent Trump supporter, made his pitch to the hundreds of voters gathered in the town hall.

"You want to elect someone who you know will go to Cleveland to represent the will of the Massachusetts voter in the 8th Congressional District," Murray said. "I'm going to start out by telling you that I am that delegate, and I want your vote."

Trump supporters not only were elected to the delegate slots reserved for him, but also to slots reserved for John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Liz Iacobucci, of Quincy, a Rubio supporter, tried to persuade voters to elect her to the slot reserved for Rubio, who won 18 percent of the vote in the primary.

"I am asking you. I am appealing to you out of fairness and party unity to please give this delegate slot to Marco Rubio, which he has earned," she said.

Her efforts were to no avail, however. A Trump supporter won Rubio's slot by a landslide. While he is bound to vote for Rubio on the first ballot, he is free to vote for Trump on all subsequent ballots.

Another 12 delegates will be elected at a meeting of the Republican State Committee this month, with final slots reserved for state party officials. Pollster Steve Koczela reported earlier that "interviews with party insiders suggest little consensus as to how the state committee will vote on the delegates it gets to pick."


Regardless, Republican voters at Saturday's caucuses made it clear they want the Massachusetts delegation to support Trump on however many ballots there are at the national convention. And the Trump campaign is ecstatic.

At one point, the Trump delegates gathered outside the Braintree Town Hall to hear a pep talk from Geoff Diehl, a GOP state representative and one of the Trump delegates.

"The word is right now that we are crushing just about every district in Massachusetts, so you guys are doing great," he said.

Trump's supporters overwhelmed the other campaigns at well-attended caucuses across the state.

Trump is now poised to get more votes from Massachusetts on a second ballot — if there is one — than in the first round at the Republican National Convention.

This segment aired on May 1, 2016.


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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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