While the race for the GOP presidential nomination has be whittled down to three candidates, only two still have a mathematical chance to win the required number of delegates (1,237) on the first ballot to be officially nominated.
As a result, both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and their respective campaigns are starting to openly express frustration with John Kasich’s implied “brokered” convention strategy.
With calls by the front-running campaigns for Kasich to end his bid getting louder as the governor’s poll numbers rise in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York, another game plan is being advertised which will have to be successfully employed in order for either Cruz or Trump to win the nomination cleanly.
Specifically, the Cruz and Trump campaigns are “fighting hard” to get loyal supporters onto the RNC convention’s Rules Committee, which will be comprised of 112 delegates. The idea is to advocate for a rule — instituted by Mitt Romney’s representatives in 2012 — requiring a candidate to have the majority of pledged delegates from at least eight states in order to be placed on the convention ballot.
To-date, Kasich has only received a majority of delegates from his home state of Ohio.
However logical the eight-state rule may be, Kasich’s campaign is well-aware that their candidate also needs delegate representation on the Committee to try to stop it from being adopted.
All rules must also be approved by a majority of Republican floor delegates before balloting commences, but if no consensus is reached, the 2012 convention procedures will be automatically adopted.
Despite this, Kasich’s campaign remains confident that they have a leg up on at least one of their GOP opponents in terms of delegate loyalty, which could help fracture support among the two frontrunners after the first round of balloting.
“Cruz has done a good job organizing at [the] local level, but Trump has no local supporters that he’s going to elect to be delegates to speak of,” said a Kasich adviser.
Most delegates are legally bound to vote for the candidate they were elected to represent on the first two ballots, after which they may switch their support to a candidate of their choosing.
Unbound delegates may also nominate new candidates to the ballot via write-in votes, with the majority of only eight state delegations needed to do so.
With this much uncertainty surrounding the nominating process itself, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will have to endure an unprecedented amount of scrutiny should Cruz or Trump not reach at least 1,237 delegates after the June 7 primaries.
[NBC News] [RealClear Politics] [ABC News] [Photo courtesy localtvkstu.files.wordpress.com]