GOP 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 only if no GOP candidate for president wins enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination.
Several GOP leaders at the party’s winter meeting in South Carolina told the Associated Press on Wednesday that preliminary planning for such a possibility is actively underway.
They stressed it had little to do with concerns about the candidacy of Donald Trump, and described the early work 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 a dozen major Republican candidates still 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 private briefing outlining possible scenarios with party officials and the presidential campaigns on Thursday, 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.”