Election 2020

RNC Chairman: 'Odds of a Contested Convention Are Very Small'

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told the Conservative Political Action Conference that “whoever the nominee is of our party, they are going to get the full backing and the 100 percent support of the Republican Party.”

“We have candidates that are competing to be the nominee of the Republican Party, who want to join the Republican Party at our convention in Cleveland,” Priebus said. “And when they join the Republican Party, obviously, they take in what we have been able to build at the RNC. We do not take sides, regardless of what you may think or read. There is no sides that we take at the Republican Party.”

“We build — a lot of the things that you may think are boring, like ground game data, engagement, turnout, absentee programs, voter identification programs — so I know everything that you buy and don’t buy, what car you drive, how much money you make, how many kids to you have.”

Questioned onstage by Sean Hannity, Priebus stressed “whether you are for Ted Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Trump, they need to have a national party that has its act together, and that is what we’re all about.”

“We’ve become a midterm party that doesn’t lose and a presidential party that has a hard time winning. We’ve got more Republicans elected across this country since 1900, but we have to figure out how to win — but we have to win a cultural vote in this country. That’s a different process. It requires total immersion, complete saturation in communities, in many cases that we don’t represent in Congress or state legislature,” he said.

Priebus insisted “there is no way that the people are not going to decide; there’s no way that the delegates are not going to decide” at the convention.

The chairman called branding of Trump as the presumptive nominee “early talk.”

“And we have over — just so you understand, there are 1,237 delegates needed to be the nominee of our party. There are 1,744 delegates left to be distributed. We are a long way to go. In fact, between now — everyone’s talking about Ohio and Florida, right? … I think the odds of a contested convention are very small.”

Priebus noted that “in most cases” delegates can switch votes on the second round.

“In some cases, delegates are bound for two votes, some cases they’re bound for three votes,” he said. In some cases they are not bound at all, even on the first vote.”