Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Republican Party begins preparing for contested convention

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Republican National Committee has started preparing for a contested national convention, which would follow the primary season should no GOP candidate for president win enough delegates to secure the party's nomination.

While calling the need for such plans ultimately unlikely, several GOP leaders at the party's winter meeting in South Carolina told the Associated Press on Wednesday that such preliminary planning is nonetheless actively under way.

They stressed it had little to do with concerns about the candidacy of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, describing the early work instead as a necessary contingency given the deeply divided Republican field. With less than three weeks to go before the Feb. 1 leadoff Iowa caucuses, there are still a dozen major Republican candidates in the race.

"Certainly, management of the committee has been working on the eventuality, because we'd be wrong not to," said Bruce Ash, chairman of the RNC's rules committee. "We don't know, or we don't think there's going to be a contested convention, but if there is, obviously everybody needs to know what all those logistics are going to look like."

The RNC will hold a briefing outlining possible scenarios with party officials and the presidential campaigns today, said Steve Duprey, a Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire.

Discussion is expected to focus on logistics related to planning for the July convention in Cleveland, a task traditionally controlled by the presumptive nominee.

"I never thought we'd deal with this," Duprey said. "The best way to make sure we don't have some messy fight is if all the campaigns understand the rules and all the members of the RNC understand how this would play out going forward."

Added South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore: "The story of this election cycle has been 'expect the unexpected.' So we're getting ahead of it and preparing for every single scenario at the national convention. I don't think it's likely, but it's certainly possible. And you always plan for things that are possible."

To win the nomination outright, a successful candidate needs to secure more than half of all available delegates in the state-by-state primary contests leading up to the convention.

The last time a Republican convention opened without such a clear nominee was 1976, when Gerald Ford led in delegates but lacked a majority coming into the convention. There was plenty of drama as Ford beat back a challenge from Ronald Reagan and eked out the nomination on the first vote.

The last time there was a truly brokered convention, at which delegates turned to someone who didn't run in the primaries, was in 1952. That year, Democrats drafted Adlai Stevenson, who won the party's nomination on the third ballot.

In the GOP field this year, Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have the edge in the most recent preference polls, much to the dismay of many party leaders who fear neither man is electable in a general election. The centrist wing of the party has yet to coalesce around an alternative to Trump or Cruz. Those fighting for that role include Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

While party leaders caution they don't think a clear nominee will fail to emerge from the glut of candidates, they argue it would be malpractice not to prepare for the prospect.

"You have to at least consider it," said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges. "I don't think that's what's going to happen, but it's always a possibility — at any convention, any year. But this time it's maybe even a little more real, seemingly real, because of the number of people we still have out there who could be collecting delegates."

Convention spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said it is the job of the convention committee to have contingency plans in place, "the same way we did over the last several conventions with hurricanes."

Despite the early nature of the work, some party officials said it was unwise. They fear it could embolden conservatives already angry with the Republican establishment.

"Let's get through Iowa, let's get through New Hampshire. Let's give somebody a chance to win this thing before we try to figure out whether we're going to have a contested convention or not," said Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour of Mississippi.

Republican Party begins preparing for contested convention 01/13/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pentagon investigating troubling questions after deadly Niger ambush

    Military

    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, troubled by a lack of information two weeks after an ambush on a special operations patrol in Niger left four U.S. soldiers dead, is demanding a timeline of what is known about the attack, as a team of investigators sent to West Africa begins its work.

  2. In the military, trusted officers became alleged assailants in sex crimes

    Military

    The Army is grappling with a resurgence of cases in which troops responsible for preventing sexual assault have been accused of rape and related crimes, undercutting the Pentagon's claims that it is making progress against sexual violence in the ranks.

    Christina Radomski (left) once walked into a print shop to pick up a project for her husband Mike Radomski (right) and saw the bulletin board behind the counter full of thank-you notes her Mike had written. Mike Radomski, 29, died Oct. 12, 2017 in a car accident near his home in Wildwood, Fla.
  3. Trump on his Puerto Rico response: 'I'd say it was a 10'

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump gave himself a "10" on Thursday for his response to the widespread devastation Puerto Rico suffered after back-to-back hurricanes created a situation that the island's governor described as "catastrophic" as he met with Trump at the White House.

    Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello speaks with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday.
  4. Editorial: Rubio, Bilirakis owe Floridians answers on drug law

    Editorials

    Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor have some explaining to do. They were co-sponsors of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists, contributing to the deadly opioid crisis …

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor has some explaining to do. He was a co-sponsor of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists.
  5. Former Hillsborough school official files lawsuit alleging high-level corruption

    K12

    TAMPA — The fired human resources chief of the Hillsborough County School District is accusing district leaders and two School Board members of committing corrupt acts and then punishing her when she would not go along.

    Stephanie Woodford rose through the ranks of the Hillsborough County School District, then was fired as Chief of Human Resources on April 28. She's now suing the district, alleging numerous acts of corruption. [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times]