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Ted Cruz Claims Victory after North Dakota Delegates Selected

Ted Cruz's presidential campaign claimed a "resounding victory" in North Dakota on Sunday after the state's GOP finalized its list of delegates to send to the Republican National Convention, with many viewed as supportive of the U.S. senator from Texas.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) afternoon gen…

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the results of North Dakota's delegate selection.

Ted Cruz's presidential campaign claimed a "resounding victory" in North Dakota on Sunday after the state's GOP finalized its list of delegates to send to the Republican National Convention, with many viewed as supportive of the U.S. senator from Texas.

"As I met them over the weekend, North Dakota Republicans recognized that I am the only candidate who can move this country forward by protecting freedom and liberty," Cruz said. "Whether we defeat Donald Trump before the convention or at it, I'm energized to have the support of the vast majority of North Dakota delegates."

Cruz's efforts in North Dakota were an important detour from the campaign trail in Wisconsin, which holds its primary Tuesday. Unlike delegates in most other states, the 25 selected over the weekend in North Dakota are not "bound" to any candidate on the first ballot at the national convention. 

"It is entirely possible the men and women gathered here will decide this entire primary, will decide this nomination," Cruz said in a Saturday afternoon speech in Fargo. 

Cruz's campaign is looking to ensure as many potential supporters as possible are among the unbound delegates elected in places like North Dakota. If the Republican race culminates in a contested convention, such delegates, who are effectively free agents until July, could make the difference in denying frontrunner Donald Trump the nomination. 

"I am here asking for you to stand with us, to elect delegates who are supporting me," Cruz said in Fargo.

He tailored his stump speech to appeal to the agriculture and energy industries in North Dakota, promising to roll back federal environmental regulations and build the Keystone Pipeline, which would run through the state. He also sounded some general election notes, warning that Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton would push policies that kill jobs in places like North Dakota. 

"Mark my words," Cruz said. "If Hillary is president, the federal government is coming after the energy industry and looking to shut down fracking all across this country."

Cruz was introduced in Fargo by rival-turned-supporter Carly Fiorina, while Cruz's two Republican opponents were planning to send surrogates to address the convention. Former GOP candidate Ben Carson was slated to pitch Trump's campaign, while former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire was set to speak on behalf of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

As Cruz spoke in North Dakota, another state, Colorado, was beginning to select its delegates to the national convention. Cruz won all six delegates that were up for grabs in two congressional district conventions in the Centennial State, according to local media reports. Colorado awards the rest of its 37 delegates at conventions throughout the next week.

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