The two leading GOP campaigns intend to muscle the Ohio governor out of the race.
Advisers to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz say there’s no way they’ll allow John Kasich to even compete at a contested national convention — let alone prevail.
Trump and Cruz are betting that their dual dominance in the delegate hunt will permanently box out the Ohio governor, who has no mathematical path to the nomination and is openly pursuing a floor fight at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And their aides say Kasich won’t even make it to the floor.
“There is virtually zero chance he can even be nominated,” Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican national committeeman who’s advising Cruz on his convention strategy, told POLITICO. “It’s a two-man race.”
Rath said that if Trump and Cruz are unable to break a deadlock to hand one of them the nomination, convention delegates can suspend their rules — including the eight-state threshold — to give other candidates the chance to put their names forward. Paul Ryan, who as House speaker presides over the convention, would preside over that process — and his determinations on suspending convention rules could carry the day. Rath added that a deadlocked situation could also elevate Kasich as critical tie breaker — perhaps the key to assembling a winning coalition.
Morton Blackwell, a Republican national committeeman from Virginia who has attended every national convention since 1964, said he foresaw the obstacle that the rules would cause and pressed to revise them at a meeting in January, before any primary contests had been held. He was ultimately shot down. He says he’s concerned that any attempt to lower the threshold now — at the expense of Trump and Cruz — would be viewed as an attempt by insiders to rig the convention against the two anti-establishment candidates.
“Reintroducing it now would be a cause of war,” he said. “I don’t want the scandal of a change in the rules … I think we’re much more likely to lose if there’s an attempt to change the rules no matter who it helps or hurts.”
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