Election 2020

Priebus: Nomination Might Go to Outside Candidate on 'Eighth or Ninth or 100th Ballot'

Balloons fall at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it “highly unlikely” that someone other than the three candidates in the GOP race will win the nomination at a contested convention.

Priebus told CNN on Thursday that the party is “preparing and we will be prepared” for a brokered convention.

“And that’s the whole point of trying to get out here and talk about what that possibility would be like,” he said. “A lot of the conversation is all hypothetical, of course. It’s possible that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump could get to the 1,237 before Cleveland and all of this will be for nothing. But we have to prepare, and so the answer is yes.”

The chairman stressed that the 1,237 threshold stays, even if Trump gets close but doesn’t hit that magic number.

“I think that a majority is what our country is founded on. I mean, it’s the whole part — it’s the whole basis of a democracy is that a minority doesn’t rule for the majority, and I think that our Founding Fathers made that very clear and it’s what we’ve been doing for 160 years in our party and a majority will rule and that’s a rule that isn’t going anywhere. Majority rules, plain and simple,” Priebus said.

He added that it’s “highly, highly unlikely that it’s someone other than a person that’s currently running” who goes home with the nomination.

“Now, if you get to an eighth or ninth or 100th ballot and everyone is on the floor staring at the ceiling, you know, I can’t make that prediction.”

Asked about expected protests at the convention, Priebus noted “we’ve got quite a bit of drama and we’ll be prepared and our preparation will be commensurate with the expectation of — with that.”

The party is spending $50 million on security, on top of expenses incurred by Cleveland and the state of Ohio.