The state of Missouri officially certified its presidential primary results on Tuesday, giving a narrow lead to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who picked up 12 at-large delegates as a result.
Trump, who has lately found his campaign outmaneuvered in securing the delegates who may play a critical role in determining the Republican presidential nomination, hailed the certification, thanking the “great people of Missouri who voted for me and the state officials who worked to ensure the votes of the people mattered.”
Trump has won more states than Sen. Ted Cruz, but has been out-hustled on the delegate front, complaining Monday that the system was “rigged.”
“It’s a phony deal,” he said Tuesday at rally in Rome, N.Y. “This was a dirty trick, these are dirty tricksters.”
Cruz has dismissed Trump’s complaints as sour grapes and noted the rules were the same for every candidate.
But in a release, Trump’s campaign insisted he’s the only Republican candidate with a clear path to receiving enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
“Mr. Trump has millions more votes and is the definitive front-runner with more delegates than any other candidate,” his campaign said.
The 12 delegate pick up comes after Cruz bested Trump in Colorado, capturing all 34 Republican convention delegates awarded through a series of party meetings this month in the state’s congressional districts and at a state party convention Saturday. Trump on Tuesday accused Colorado of setting up the rules to box him out.
The Republican National Committee, he said, should be “ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen."
Of Missouri's 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention, 12 go to the top statewide vote-getter. The rest are awarded in chunks of five to the winners in each of the state's congressional districts. Trump carried five congressional districts and Cruz three, according to the certified results.
Trump led Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by 1,965 votes out of more than 939,000 cast in the Republican primary in Missouri — a margin of about one-fifth of a percentage point – and close enough for Cruz to request a recount at state expense.
The Associated Press has not declared Trump the winner in the state because Cruz has not ruled out a recount.
Trump’s campaign in a statement said he remains focused on the New York primary next Tuesday. But he’s acknowledged that his son, Eric, and his daughter, Ivanka, will not be voting for him.
The April 19 primary is a closed primary – meaning it is not open to those not registered as Republicans and Trump told "Fox and Friends" that the two missed the deadline to register as members of the GOP.
“They had a long time to register and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn't, they didn't register in time," Trump said. "So they feel very, very guilty."
Democrats seized on the oversight to mock Trump.
The official results also confirmed Hillary Clinton received the most votes in the Democratic race with 312,285 votes and a 1,574-vote lead.