Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was making the rounds on the cable/broadcast talk shows this Sunday and was fielding the same questions it feels like he’s been answering for months now.
“Will the RNC support the candidate who wins the most votes?”
“Will the RNC steal the nomination from Donald Trump or Ted Cruz?”
“Will the RNC try to nominate someone who isn’t currently running?”
And on and on and on…
To his credit, while Preibus has been answering these questions over and over again, he continues to say that the RNC will support whomever it is that the party nominates. He added to this argument today on CNN’s State of the Union when he told host Jake Tapper that he believed that the eventual GOP nominee was already running for the presidency.
Jake Tapper: Former Bush adviser Karl Rove said this week that a fresh face might be the thing that could give Republicans a chance in November. John Boehner has said that that person should be Paul Ryan, your fellow Wisconsinite.
From the standpoint of the party rules, is there a possibility that House Speaker Paul Ryan could end up as the Republican nominee maybe on the fourth or fifth ballot, something of a consensus candidate?
Reince Priebus: No, because, number one, he doesn’t want to do it. And I know Paul very well. And, you know, he doesn’t seek out these things. He’s one of the unique people in Washington where, you know, his ego is, like, not even there. And he’s not selfish. And he doesn’t think like that.
So, here’s the thing. If anything like that were to happen, which I think is highly, highly unlikely, I think our candidate is someone who’s running, OK? That’s pretty obvious. But, number two, even if something like that were even remotely possible, that candidate would actually have to have a floor operation and an actual campaign going on with the delegates to make something like that possible.
And Paul’s not going to do that. So, my answer is no. But, clearly, there’s a lot of information out there that people are spreading around to cause a lot of confusion. But I think that our candidate is someone who’s running.
Then over on ABC, Priebus tried to assuage voter concerns that the RNC might “steal” the nomination from either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz (both of whom are hated by the establishment) and hand it to someone that they think is “more acceptable.”
Reince Priebus: Well, you know, nothing can get stolen from anyone. We have rules in place that if someone — if a candidate gets to 1,237 delegates, those delegates are bound. They — and they will vote that way on the floor, and if they don’t vote that way on the floor, which they will, but if they don’t, the secretary will read the vote as if they were bound regardless.
So this — we will know where everyone stands on delegates on June 8, after the June 7thd primaries. No will be no mystery over who has the majority, or if someone doesn’t, whether it’s going to be an open convention. If it’s an open convention, then we’re going to have be clear, open, and transparent on what the rules say and how they’re administer, and it will be very clear, and there will be a camera — cameras — at every step of the way.
So there will be no mystery…
Generally, everyone is bound on the first ballot. In some states, they’re bound on a couple votes. But you’re right that on the second or third ballot, more and more delegates are unbound and they can vote for who they want. Now, you still would have to get a certain amount of states and delegates in place in order to be nominated, and so that’s important. You can’t just have one person you there nominating a candidate, but generally your premise is correct. But there are rules in place to prevent, you know, 50 people getting nominated. You have to demonstrate a certain amount of support in a certain amount of states in order to get nominated.
That all being said, all of this goes away if a candidate gets 1,237 delegates before Cleveland. And right now Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, they have a possibility of getting to that number and all of this is put to bed. If it’s not to put to bed, George, then we’re going to have an open convention and it’s going to be administered properly and we’re going to have a vote. We’re going to have a multi-ballot convention.
I think that Priebus is attempting to be as transparent as possible while also hedging his bets on what will happen next. He no doubt realizes that if neither Trump nor Cruz can win a majority of delegates before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, then there may be havoc in Ohio. However, it’s his job to minimize whatever problems may arise from an open convention and figure out a way to make the most people happy with the candidate that is selected. His job won’t be easy, which is why he’s doing what he can now to smooth the road for the hard decisions he’ll have to make in July.
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