DES MOINES, Iowa -- Last week he named a running mate. But on Tuesday, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race to the White House. Following a crushing loss to Donald Trump in Indiana, Cruz cleared the path for the real estate mogul to clinch the GOP nomination.
Cruz won the Iowa Caucuses three months ago, and while the tides have shifted in Trump’s favor, Iowans will still play a role in naming the Republican presidential candidate.
“I never dreamed that we were going to have this type of drama heading up to Cleveland,” said Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa GOP delegate and GOP Party Chair.
The GOP race has taken a strong turn since Iowans caucused in February when Cruz drew first blood with a victory over the GOP field. Trump’s commanding lead is now turning the pressure up on Iowa delegates, many selected as Cruz supporters.
“There’s a responsibility. You can feel it on your shoulders,” Kaufmann said.
That responsibility will arrive in Cleveland.
“Iowa binds our delegates. Whatever our caucus results were, that’s exactly how we are going to vote,” Kaufmann said.
He also said a second vote could be as unpredictable as this year’s election cycle.
“If Trump doesn’t have it wrapped up by the time we get to Cleveland when the second ballot does, every delegate gets to vote their own conscience,” Kaufmann said.
And that’s what will have a number of the 30 Iowa delegates in a bind.
“Do I choose who I think is best suited to beat Hillary? Do I choose a candidate who best reflects my politics, or do I try to mirror what Iowans want me to do?”
Despite Cruz and Trump’s war with words, the convention will unravel the truth.
“I'm going to support whoever the process gives me and I’m going to make sure they win Iowa next year and they're the next president of the United States."
It’s a process that includes one goal for Kaufmann and the Iowa GOP.
“The movement I’m concerned with and the movement I’m going to try and make the overriding theme of the Iowa delegation is the never Hillary campaign,” Kaufmann said.
There are 15 Iowa delegates that have already been chosen. Another 15 will be voted on at the Iowa Republican Convention on May 21.