Maine Gov. Paul LePage claimed Friday that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign reneged on its alleged promise to support a "unity slate" of the state's delegates in a move that the Trump-supporting governor characterized as "stabbing us in the back."
LePage issued a statement on his Facebook page Friday entitled, "Governor LePage Calls on Ted Cruz to Condemn Dirty Tricks by Campaign Operative at GOP Convention." In the statement, LePage accused the "Republican Establishment" and Cruz's campaign of overruling the votes given to both Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich by Maine voters with their actions leading up to the Maine Republican Convention in Bangor this weekend.
"We reached a deal with Cruz's national campaign to put up a unity slate that would honor the wishes of the thousands of Mainers who voted at caucus," the governor's statement read. "But Cruz's Northeast Political Director David Sawyer lied to us and broke the deal. Sawyer stabbed us in the back, reneged on the unity slate and betrayed the Maine people."
During Maine's March 5 caucus, the state's Republicans elected 12 delegates for Cruz, nine for Trump and two for Kasich. LePage's comments come during an increasingly tense fight for delegates leading up to the 1,237 needed to win the Republican nomination outright, according to CNN.
"As we have seen throughout the country, Cruz’s national campaign is run by greedy political hooligans," LePage's statement continued. "They are using sneaky and deceitful operators like Sawyer to try to subvert the democratic process and take all 23 delegates. I can't stand by and watch as Cruz and the Republican Establishment forcibly overrule the votes of Mainers who chose Trump and Kasich."
LePage continued to bash the Cruz campaign as he accused it of trying to "suppress delegates" while "besmirching" the good and valid efforts of Cruz's own supporters.
"They, too, deserve better than these devious machinations by professional political operators from the Republican Establishment who are scheming to stifle the voice of Mainer voters," LePage stated. "I call on Senator Cruz to condemn Sawyer's disrespectful and dishonest tactics in Maine. Cruz is an honorable man, and I am confident that he will do the right thing by Maine people."
LePage, who has been a vocal Trump supporter, was one of the first six delegates elected to attend the national convention this July, according to the Portland Press Herald. The delegate voting, which began on Saturday, appeared to show that of the first six of 20 delegates elected to represent Maine's two congressional districts, five of them had been offered from a Cruz campaign "slate." LePage, along with the Trump campaign, had been attempting Friday to win support for the "unity slate" seeking to preserve the delegate breakdown that resulted from Maine's caucus.
Cruz ultimately collected 19 of the 20 spots up for grabs Saturday, with the 20th spot going to LePage, according to CNN.
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