GOP lawmakers open door to brokered convention

12 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ben Carson said he’s willing to run as an independent if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination..

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump and Ben Carson could dangle the possibility of independent runs for president well into the primary season next year, but they can’t wait forever.Just over a month ago, Ben Carson was the only Republican presidential candidate who had managed to overtake Donald Trump at the top of the almighty RealClearPolitics polling average.WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Ben Carson threatened Friday to leave the Republican Party amid reports of deepening concerns from GOP officials about the splintered 2016 electorate.

The GOP presidential campaigns are keeping tight-lipped after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dared them to back out of a pledge to support Donald Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee. His effort also drew further scrutiny when CNN reported that Carson’s business manager and adviser Armstrong Williams said he felt the campaign staff needed “to do a better job at preparing him.” Carson has continued his downward trend in polls amid questions about his past, his preparedness on current issues and concerns about his abortion record. “Polls go up and down. Earnest called on the GOP candidates to buck the party’s loyalty pledge over the real estate mogul’s plan to ban non-American Muslims from entering the United States.

The former Baltimore County resident, who registered as an independent when he lived in Maryland, reacted angrily to reports that senior party officials were preparing for a floor fight at the July convention in Cleveland if billionaire Donald Trump maintains his front-runner status next year. That would give a well-financed campaign enough time to gather sufficient signatures on petitions so the candidate could appear on the ballot in every state. So far, the campaigns are refusing to disown Trump – sticking to a pledge that they all signed that was meant to keep the billionaire from launching an independent bid. If the winner isn’t our nominee then we have a massive problem.’ The Post quoted five separate sources – all unnamed – who said that at a private dinner in downtown Washington this week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told a top-level gathering of party elders that Trump could enter next summer’s convention with enough delegates to potentially assume control of the race but not officially close the deal.

The pledge was meant as a way to prevent Trump from launching a third-party bid that could derail the GOP’s plans to take back the White House and potentially hand the keys over to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, if she successfully earns her own party’s nomination. Asked if he has any message for Republican party leaders, Trump said he did – if the GOP thinks he won’t win the nomination, he said, they are ‘kidding themselves.’ Republican leaders have angled to avoid the scenario of a bloody convention fight all year, by limiting debates and dodging the debacle of 2012, when a prolonged, circus-like debate schedule weakened the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. But with Trump leading in all the polls, that nominee could very well be him, putting the rest of the candidates – some of whom have been highly critical of this new, anti-Muslim immigration policy – in a political pickle. Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman, told the Pose, ‘The RNC is neutral in this process, and the rules are set until the convention begins next July.

At an event held by the Republican Jewish Coalition, he mispronounced the name of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, just as the race has turned to questions of terrorism following the California and Paris attacks. In Iowa, where Carson had found earlier success with the key evangelical Christian bloc after intense investment, Carson has fallen to third, more than six points behind second-placed Ted Cruz. Trump’s lead has flummoxed party officials, who are concerned that his bombastic comments on immigrants, women and Muslims will hurt the party’s brand. Trump, who targeted Carson as his success briefly appeared to threaten the mogul’s, continues to hold first place on both averages, as well as in New Hampshire.

That fate has befallen Democrats as well – in 1972, nominee George McGovern was forced to give his nationally televised acceptance speech at 2:45 a.m. because of just such a scenario. In the most recent average, he is at 30.4 percent, compared to 15.6 percent for Cruz and 13.6 percent each in a third-place tie between retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Spokesman Doug Watts said Carson was appalled at reports suggesting that Republican leaders were trying to manipulate the party’s presidential nominating process. My disadvantage is that I’d be going up against guys who grew up with each other, who know each other intimately, and I don’t know who they are, okay?’ he said. Or worse, Stone said, handing the election to the opposing party. “Think about how a Republican candidate would campaign,” Stone said. “They would say that a vote for Trump is assuring victory to your least favorite candidate.

While many Republicans have confronted him publicly, Vatz noted party leaders and other GOP candidates have been wary of pushing him out of the party entirely. In that free-for-all scenario, delegates committed to an individual candidate are “released” to support someone else, and campaigns must work — and negotiate — to earn them in successive rounds of balloting.

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