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Tamar Hallerman

One hundred days before GOP convention, biggest questions still unanswered

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FILE -- The floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum after the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 31, 2012. For the first time in 40 years, Republican delegates could be more than just a rubber stamp on their party?s nomination as the race to be the 2016 nominee heats up. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

The floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum after the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 31, 2012.  (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Organizers of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland spent the week showcasing their prep work to the media. But 100 days before roughly 50,000 people flood the North Coast for what could be the most dramatic and suspenseful nominating contest in a generation, it’s clear that many of the biggest questions have yet to be answered.

In front of the cameras, organizers on Friday briefed local media on the status of their planning and logistical efforts and earlier in the week walked hundreds of editors and reporters through the convention space.

Republican convention-themed cookies were distributed to members of the media during a walk-through of the venue this week. Susan Potter/AJC.

But the main topic on everyone’s minds – how the Republican National Committee is approaching the growing likelihood of a brokered convention July 18-21 – was still unclear.

RNC officials privately huddled with two dozen GOP operatives this week to review issues such as balloting and bound delegates, according to Politico. The group also hired Texas’ former Republican Party chairman to lead an outreach effort to make sure things go smoothly, The Houston Chronicle reported.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has promised transparency throughout the entire process:

“If it’s an open convention, then we’re going to have be clear, open, and transparent on what the rules say and how they’re administer, and it will be very clear, and there will be a camera — cameras — at every step of the way,” Priebus told George Stephanopoulos earlier this week.

Trump is currently 494 delegates short of clinching the nomination outright, while Cruz has a deficit of more than 700. The Associated Press built a pretty handy delegate tracking tool that can be found here.

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Georgia is still in the process of selecting which individuals will represent the state in its 76-person delegation in Cleveland. Those delegates are particularly critical this year if there does end up being multiple ballots to select the nominee.

Trump won 40 delegates in the Peach State primary last month. Those people are required to vote for the billionaire on the first ballot, but most will be free to spurn him in later rounds if he doesn’t immediately lock up the nomination. The backers of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are looking for people willing to do so in those successive rounds.

The delegate selection process began last month in Georgia with little drama reported at county GOP meetings. Check out our breakdown of how the 76 delegates are selected here.

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Meanwhile, some of the country’s largest corporations are under pressure from civil rights groups to back away from their traditional convention sponsorships given Trump’s divisiveness.

“Companies like Coca-Cola have a civic responsibility to make sure that their brands and corporate dollars are not used to promote damaging hate speech. By funding Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention, Coca-Cola will be doing just that,” the group the Color of Change wrote on its web site.

The effort appears to have paid off. Coca-Cola declined to match the $660,000 it gave to the GOP convention in 2012, donating only $75,000 this year, according to the New York Times. The newspaper reported the Georgia company has indicated it doesn’t plan to give more.