Ted Cruz gains 34 delegates with Colorado sweep

Last Updated Apr 10, 2016 12:40 AM EDT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-- In a clean sweep, Sen. Ted Cruz locked up the support of all 34 delegates Colorado will send to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in July.

Cruz netted 13 more delegates Saturday at Colorado's state GOP convention. The Texas Senator already had locked up the support of 21 Colorado delegates and visited the state to try to pad his numbers there.

Keeping up his tussle with Trump over values, Cruz told the Colorado crowd earlier that it's easy to talk about making America great again -- "you can even print that on a baseball cap" -- but that the more important question is which candidate understands "the principles and values that made America great in the first place."

In an appearance before Jewish Republicans in Las Vegas later that day, Cruz warned of a "bloodbath" for the GOP if Trump were the nominee and said control of Congress and the balance of the Supreme Court could be at risk.

Cruz's sweep increases the chances of a contested Republican convention this summer. Trump still has a narrow path to clinching the GOP nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7, but he has little room for error. He would need to win nearly 60 percent of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he's winning 46 percent.

Following the Colorado results, the CBS News delegate scoreboard stands at Trump 743, Cruz 540, and John Kasich 143. Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign, has 167 delegates. To clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries, a GOP candidate needs 1,237 delegates.

More than 3,000 people at Colorado's Republican state convention picked the remaining 13 delegates. Cruz supporters sported bright orange T-shirts with his slate of delegates printed on the back.

Trump's organizers distributed a slate that listed incorrect information for four of his candidates. His campaign contended the errors were due to changes to the ballot by the state GOP and did not rule out challenging the results.

The complex Colorado process inherently favored Cruz, the Trump campaign charged, and suspicions among supporters mounted after the results were announced Saturday night. The official Colorado Republican Party account tweeted: "We did it! #NeverTrump." Colorado GOP spokesman Kyle Kohli said the tweet was unauthorized and it was swiftly deleted. The party was investigating who wrote the tweet.

Cruz supporters argued that their candidate didn't just have an organizational edge but that the Texas senator was a better fit with the state's socially conservative, libertarian-minded Republicans. "The Donald Trump caustic politics just doesn't resonate in Colorado," said Tom Peterson, an engineer and delegate from rural Elbert County.

Trump supporters were frustrated by Colorado's arcane process, which involved a series of caucuses at different locations before the convention. "It doesn't seem like a real fair system," said George Rosel, 60, an engineer and Trump supporter who came to the convention from the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch. "It seems kind of rigged."

Of the 34 delegates Cruz won, only 30 are technically pledged to his campaign; four are party officials who are unpledged but have promised to support Cruz, and the campaign placed them on its slate.

Trump left the Colorado convention to his organizers, and spent about a half-hour on Saturday touring the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan. His campaign issued a statement describing the site as "symbolic of the strength of our country, and in particular New Yorkers, who have done such an incredible job rebuilding that devastated section of our city."

"This is what 'New York values' are really all about," it added, a not-too-veiled poke at Cruz, who has taken heat for his earlier criticism of "New York values."