The state hasn’t even voted and convention delegates are already lined up against the front-runner.
Indiana hasn’t cast its ballots for president yet, but Donald Trump is already losing.
Republican Party insiders in the state will select 27 delegates to the national convention on Saturday, and Trump is assured to be nearly shut out of support, according to interviews with a dozen party leaders and officials involved in the delegate selection process. Anti-Trump sentiment runs hot among GOP leadership in Indiana, and it’s driving a virulent rejection of the mogul among likely delegates.
Indiana GOP insiders are working to engineer slates of delegates — three from each of nine congressional districts — that will turn their backs on Trump at a contested convention in July. Another 27 will be elected at a state committee meeting next week.
Indiana’s delegates will be bound to the results of the state’s May 3 primary on the first vote in Cleveland, and Trump is expected to be competitive in that contest. (There is no current public polling of the state, but several GOP leaders suggested he’d be competitive in at least a couple of the state’s nine Congressional districts.) But if Trump fails to clinch the nomination, they’ll be free to vote their conscience — and that means a rapid rejection of Trump. The state’s Republican national committeeman, John Hammond, has vocally called to reject Trump as well.
That would mark just another blow to Trump’s chances, should the convention go to a second ballot as expected. Though he’s won more votes and state primaries than rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Trump has failed spectacularly to win separate delegate selection battles to his better-organized rivals. Though in most cases, he’s lost because of Cruz’s superior organization, Indiana appears to be a break from the norm. Most of the hostility to Trump there is homegrown.
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