Election 2020

Rick Perry Says a Contested Convention Will Not Break the Party

CNBC video screenshot

On CNBC Wednesday morning, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has endorsed Ted Cruz, argued that a contested convention makes sense, according to the rules of the Republican Party, and would not spell doom for the GOP. He insisted that frontrunner Donald Trump should not complain about the rules as they stand, because he agreed to play the game.

Ted Cruz has teased a big announcement on Wednesday afternoon, and after Rick Perry’s comments it seems the Texas senator is most certainly not dropping out.

“I’ve thought for some time that that’s where we’re headed, a contested convention,” Perry said. When a CNBC anchor asked him whether he thinks a contested convention “ultimately breaks the party,” the former Texas governor denied it.

“No, I don’t, not at all,” Perry responded. “Listen, these are the rules, this is the way it’s set up. I think it makes all the sense in the world that you follow the rules.” Nevertheless, the former governor admitted that “people are upset in this country [and are] really mad about what’s going on in Washington, D.C. — they feel like the whole system is rigged against them.”

When a moderator chimed in, saying, “They think the convention process is rigged against them,” Perry unequivocally shot back, “but it’s not.”

The former governor admitted that the rules are hard to understand, but insisted that they be followed. “The rules: are they arcane? are they different? Yeah. But there are a lot of different rules for every kind of organization I’ve ever been involved with,” he declared.

Perry said that Trump complaining about the rules would be similar to Tom Brady being upset about being suspended after he signed his contracts. “If you don’t want to play by the rules of the Republican Party, don’t run in the primary.”

“If you’re not going to follow the rules, why are we a rule of law country at all?” the former governor asked, pointedly.

Perry admitted that the Republican race essentially boils down to the Indiana primary next Tuesday, May 3. The state may have enough delegates to derail the Trump train going into the convention. If Cruz can pull off a win in Indiana and in California on June 7, he would essentially ensure a contested convention.

On Fox, Perry openly declared “It’s Indiana or bust.”

Perry’s declaration and focus on Indiana, coupled with Cruz’s teaser of a major announcement Wednesday afternoon, suggests the announcement might involve Indiana. Governor Mike Pence will not be at the event, however. While it is possible that former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels might endorse Cruz, it is also likely that Cruz will announce his vice presidential pick.

Despite Trump’s declaration that he is the “presumptive nominee,” he still needs 1,237 delegates to claim that status. There are good reasons for Republicans to fight him to the bitter end, and it looks like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are fully on board.