Election 2020

Priebus: Party Unity 'Goes for Everyone' in Need to Unite

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus receives a standing ovation after speaking at the RNC's Spring Meeting on April 22, 2016, in Hollywood, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told GOPs today that the organization has “taken the initiative to push back against the misconceptions floating around out there” about the convention and nominating process.

Addressing the RNC’s spring meeting in Hollywood, Fla., Priebus stressed that “the rules for how we choose a nominee have been transparent and effective for decades and this year is no different.”

While Republican registration is up since 2012, he noted, it “will mean very little unless we unite around whoever our nominee will be.”

“It is essential to victory in November that we all support our candidate. This goes for everyone, whether you’re a county party chairman, an RNC member, or a presidential candidate,” he said. “Politics is a team sport and we can’t win unless we rally around whoever becomes our nominee. I want to prove the doubters wrong and show that Republicans are going to stand side by side with one another stronger than ever before.”

Priebus said “no one is forcing [candidates] to wear our jersey — we expect our candidates to support our party and our eventual nominee.”

“Now I know our candidates are going to say some things to attract attention. That’s part of politics. But we all need to get behind the nominee,” he added.

The RNC launched the ConventionFacts.gop website in March to explain the procedures in Cleveland, and more recently launched its Grassroots Assistance Project “to welcome, educate, and engage delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.”

Priebus stressed that the nominee still needs 1,237, as “almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

“We all remember the fight in 2009 over Obamacare when it looked like Obama was going to be 3 votes short. We didn’t say, ‘Oh he’s almost there, let’s give it to him.’ He had to get a majority,” he said. “…If no candidate reaches a majority of bound delegates during the primary process, we will go to an open — or contested — convention. The balloting process is nothing new to our party. It’s the way we have done things since the 1800s.”

“It took Abraham Lincoln three ballots to get a majority in 1860. Heck, it took me seven to get elected chairman of the RNC!”

The chairman promised that “the process of writing the rules will also be completely above board” and “fairness and transparency will be the hallmark of our convention.”

“Having a committee write a set of rules that govern the body isn’t unique to the Republican National Committee—it’s true for the Boy Scouts the Rotary Club, or any other group that has organizational structure,” he continued. “It only makes sense that the 2016 Convention is governed by rules written by 2016 delegates. The rules will be presented to and voted on by the entire slate of delegates. Everyone is going to get a chance to see – and vote on – the proposed changes.”

“…The whole world will be watching the democratic process at work and we are excited to show off the best our party has to offer. Regardless of when we get a nominee, the bottom line is Republicans will leave Cleveland united and ready to win in November.”