Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Nominee needs majority, GOP told

Trump must have 1,237 delegates, chairman says

- By Anthony Man Staff writer

HOLLYWOOD — For the Donald Trump supporters who hope their candidate wins the Republican presidenti­al nomination even if he doesn’t have a majority of delegates, the national party chairman had a direct message on Friday: no way.

“The rules say you have to have 1,237 delegates to be the nominee. We aren’t going to hand the nomination to anyone with a plurality, no matter how close they are to 1,237,” Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told party leaders from throughout the country.

“Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” he said. “If we don’t abide by the majority, we don’t honor one of the bedrock values of American government. Majority rule is as American as apple pie or Opening Day.”

Trump has more dele-

gates than his rivals, and supporters believe if he’s in a strong first place heading into the convention he should get the nomination even without a majority. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week found 62 percent of Republican voters think the candidate with the most votes should be the nominee.

Priebus made his declaratio­n on the final day of the RNC spring meeting at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, the day after a top Trump lieutenant, Paul Manafort, sought to reassure party members about his candidate. On Wednesday, candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich met with RNC members.

Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale, the co-chairwoman of the national party, said Republican­s would be unified by fall, starting with her home state. “This November, we are committed in Florida to make sure that with you we are back in the Republican column.”

Day said the tenor of the campaign, which included candidates Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has since dropped out, making allusions to the size of Trump’s penis, has been difficult for many Republican­s.

“Along the way there are days when we have heard and seen things our candidates have said that made us cringe a little, and sometimes they made us want to reach for the parental block on our television­s,” she said. “And sometimes we may even wonder why are we working so hard when it seems our efforts are misreprese­nted and criticized.”

The answer, she said, is the prospect of a Democratic presidenti­al victory.

“I know that in this room some of us did not get our first choice in a candidate, and maybe not even our second or third choice for that matter. But I want to remind you that the ultimate choice we will face in November is the choice between our Republican candidate and a lying, hypocritic­al, untrustwor­thy candidate by the name of Hillary Clinton or a socialist-turnedDemo­crat by the name of Bernie Sanders.”

Day and Priebus aimed some of their messages to supporters of other candidates.

The chairman said it was essential that everyone support the 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 said.

“Unity makes the impossible possible. Division makes the possible impossible,” he said. “Scripture warns us about how the ‘root of bitterness’ can easily damage unity in the church. But the Psalms also describe how ‘good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell in unity.’”

Throughout their three days in Hollywood, Republican­s sought to avoid controvers­y after weeks of battering by Trump forces, who have complained about the process of selecting convention delegates – often after losing nominating contests.

Priebus tamped down attempts to allow the party Rules Committee to recommend changes for the nominating convention in Cleveland because he didn’t want to fuel theories that the national party was out to rig the system.

The party usually has a presumptiv­e nominee by now. Because it still doesn’t have one, it hasn’t been able to partner up with the candidate for fundraisin­g, said party treasurer Tony Parker. He said the party was “on target to remain financiall­y strong,” though he said an election year “no one could have imagined” has taken its toll.

Plans to deploy field staffers to key states have been delayed. Instead of having those hundreds of staffers in the field in May, they won’t go out until August, Parker said.

Peter Feaman of Boynton Beach, Florida’s Republican national committeem­an, said he’s more optimistic about a successful presidenti­al campaign than when the gathering began.

“I feel better about all the candidates,” said Feaman, who attended closed door sessions with Cruz, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, and the Trump surrogates. “It reinstille­d in me that any of them can win in November.”

Some of the 168 members of the RNC — the party chairman, national committeem­an and national committeew­oman from each state and territory — said they were relieved they avoided controvers­y in Hollywood.

Paul Reynolds, the Republican national committeem­an from Alabama, said he has “seen very little angst among anyone.”

He said he was “thrilled to death” at the absence of rancor during the meeting, which he said went “way, way much better than it could have been. It could have been a disaster.”

Though Trump and his supporters have pummeled the Republican Party with criticism, Day said she didn’t see “antiTrump sentiment” among the party activists . “I think what there is is procandida­te sentiment for a candidate that they supported maybe more than another candidate.”

Like Day, Tamara Scott, the Republican national committeew­oman from Iowa, said the idea of a Democratic victory would unify her party. “This is bigger than losing some freedoms or liberties. This is about losing a nation should Democrats win.”

Scott said the largely controvers­y-free gathering was an answered “prayer for all of us.”

 ?? PHOTOS BY ANTHONY MAN/STAFF ?? Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale, who was at the group’s gathering at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood this week, lamented some moments of the GOP presidenti­al campaigns. As the meeting wrapped up,...
PHOTOS BY ANTHONY MAN/STAFF Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale, who was at the group’s gathering at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood this week, lamented some moments of the GOP presidenti­al campaigns. As the meeting wrapped up,...
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States