‘We’re preparing for that possibility,’ Reince Priebus says
The head of the Republican National Committee braced the party faithful Sunday for what could be the first contested nominating convention in generations, suggesting increasing odds of a showdown this summer over Donald Trump’s candidacy.
While Trump has a big lead in convention delegates, many party elders and strategists, alarmed over his ascent, are redoubling efforts to deny him the nomination. At the least, they are seeking to force a battle at the July convention in Cleveland. In multiple television interviews Sunday, Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC, raised the prospect of a protracted convention fight with multiple rounds of voting needed to determine the winner.
“We’re preparing for that possibility,” Priebus said on ABC. That marks a shift from earlier this month, when Priebus told a gathering of conservatives that a contested convention was “highly, highly unlikely.”
Trump’s Delegates Could Betray Him on Convention FloorIf Donald Trump fails to reach 1,237 delegates, and has to fight for the nomination at a contested convention, he might have a problem: some of his own delegates may be at risk of fleeing and tilting the election. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports. Photo: Getty
The GOP chairman acknowledged a convention fight could lead to the selection of a nominee who fell well short in the primary voting, but he stressed there is “nothing nefarious” about that. Trump has warned against efforts to deny him the nomination.
Priebus’ efforts to tamp down unease over a convention fight come as the campaign moves into a much slower and more grueling phase. Voters will weigh in Tuesday in Arizona and Utah, and on April 5 in Wisconsin, but then the campaign will wait two weeks until the New York primary.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.