Donald Trump's campaign is claiming a win in Michigan after getting five supporters elected to a handful of key national convention committee spots — and, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign, shutting Sen. Ted Cruz out of those committees in Michigan entirely.
On Saturday, the Michigan delegation to the Republican National Convention chose their representatives on the Rules, Platform, Credentials and Permanent Organization committees of the convention. Trump delegates were elected to both slots on the Credentials Committee and one slot each on the Rules, Platform and Permanent Organization committees. Ohio Gov. John Kasich's delegates took the remaining three slots.
Brian Jack, Trump's national delegate director, called the Michigan outcome "a big win for Team Trump," pointing in particular to that delegate vote as significant.
"The most important votes occurred this afternoon - the votes for the Convention committees. There, we went 5-0. Five Delegates for Mr. Trump ran for committee assignments; all five were elected," he said.
The Trump campaign has struggled in recent weeks to get loyalists elected as national delegates in a number of states, sparking a rash of negative press questioning whether the Trump operation is up to the challenge of the state-by-state convention-floor combat of securing supportive delegates. A Trump strategist said the Michigan committee selection was evidence to the contrary — that the Trump campaign does in fact have a solid operation in some states.
The Kasich campaign also trumpeted the Michigan results as evidence of their "organizational strength."
"Despite challenges from other campaigns, we showed organizational strength, defended the slate and picked up key committee assignments" in Michigan, Kasich spokeswoman Emmalee Kalmbach.
But the Cruz campaign dismissed the results. Saul Anuzis, Cruz's Michigan state director, called it a product of a Trump-Kasich team effort and suggesting it signaled Kasich was gunning for a spot on Trump's ticket.
A Cruz aide charged that Trump and Kasich's supporters conferred and agreed to collectively vote for each other's chosen candidates.
The Trump campaign denied this, noting that in at least one case the Trump campaign's chosen delegate defeated a Kasich delegate.