The delegate process in Colorado has to be seen to be believed

Story highlights

  • Colorado Republicans had 10 seconds to make their pitch for delegate slots
  • Most could only get in their name, ballot position number and favored presidential candidate

(CNN)You could be forgiven for mistaking Saturday's event at the Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs for an "American Idol" audition.

Thousands of Colorado state delegates squeezed into the stands to listen to more than 600 fellow Republicans make their case to be national delegates at the convention in Cleveland.
    And there was no time to waste.
    During crunch time at the state assembly, candidates had 10 seconds to earn their ticket. Some stood on stage holding signs with their ballot number, others used props or catchy slogans.
    Inside the battle to become a Colorado GOP delegate
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    Getting the opportunity for a 10-second pitch to a group of rowdy conservatives wasn't easy. Just to get to that point, state delegates had to get elected at the precinct level for a chance to go to the county level. Once candidates got past the county, about half moved on to the congressional district assemblies and the rest pitched to the state convention.
    If a candidate was serious about going to Cleveland, they went all out: Knocking on doors, making phone calls, drafting friends and family to make signs and buttons and hand out campaign literature at the assemblies.
    In the end, party politics made the likelihood of getting their number marked on the ballot very low. The presidential candidates all had slates with predetermined candidates for the national convention. And the chances got worse if a state delegate was publicly supporting any candidate not named Ted Cruz -- the Texas senator on Saturday clinched the support of every pledged delegate in Colorado, capturing all of the final 13 delegates who will go to the national convention in July.
    But a few managed to charm their way into the big game and a chance to be part of a possibly historic contested national convention in Ohio.