Trump delegates with Arabic-sounding names fare poorly in Illinois

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. © Joe Skipper
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won the Illinois primary, taking most of state's delegates to send to the GOP national convention. However, analysts note that voter aversion to Trump-delegates with names like Sadiq may have cost him.

Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman first noticed that Trump delegates named Nabi Fakroodin, in Illinois' 6th congressional district, and Raja Sadiq, in Illinois' 13th congressional district, each received far fewer votes than their fellow Trump delegates in their respective counties.

Illinois primary rules are made up of a hybrid of the usual "winner-take-all" primary process for at-large delegates and a system for congressional districts where delegates selected directly by voters on the primary ballot. Some refer to it as the Illinois "loophole" primary.

Fakroodin was Trump's third delegate in the 6th district, garnering nearly 5,000 votes less than the overall winner, Trump delegate Paul Minch, who received 35,435 total votes. Coming in second in the district was Trump delegate Barbara Kois, who took in 35,120 votes. Fakroodin finished sixth overall. Thus, Republican candidate John Kasich ‒ whose delegates took third- through fifth-place in the district ‒ was able to snag a convention-bound delegate.

Sadiq also finished sixth in his district, nearly 8,000 votes behind winner and fellow Trump delegate Doug Hartmann. The second, third, and fourth place finishers went to Ted Cruz delegates. Finishing fifth was Trump delegate Toni Gauen, who took in about 3,600 votes less than Hartmann.

The implication is that Trump voters shied away from Sadiq and Fakroodin far more than other Trump delegates, Wasserman said.

"In the Illinois loophole primary, there is rampant evidence Trump supporters gave fewer votes to Trump delegates w/ foreign-sounding names," he tweeted, adding that, as a consequence, Trump lost two convention delegates from Illinois.

Wasserman later pointed out a similar situation in the state's 2nd congressional district, which awarded Trump delegate Taneequa Tolbert 11 percent fewer votes than top vote-getter and fellow Trump delegate James Devors. However, Tolbert, Devors and a third Trump delegate are all headed to the Republican National Convention, to be held July 18-21, in Cleveland, Ohio.

While campaigning for president, Trump has infamously said that he would consider a registration system for Muslims in the US and would possibly limit travel of Muslims into the country. When asked by moderator Jake Tapper at the latest Republican presidential debate whether he would limit travel for "all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world," Trump answered: "I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them."

Analysts urged some caution about reading too much into the name game.

"It's not clear whether Sadiq and Fakroddin would have suffered the same fate had they been delegates for candidates who hadn’t espoused a harshly anti-Muslim position," wrote the Washington Post's Philip Bump. "There don’t appear to have been other candidates with Arabic-sounding names across the 18 districts, making it hard to compare."

Yet Bump added that about two-thirds of Illinois Republican voters supported Trump's Muslim ban, according to CNN exit polling in the state.