A Georgia Republican heavyweight on what happens if GOP fails to find a nominee in Cleveland

RNC member Randy Evans. Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com

RNC member Randy Evans. Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com

Randy Evans, the Atlanta attorney who is on the Republican National Convention’s rules committee, has warned for weeks of a worst-case scenario at the Cleveland convention if GOPers fail to settle on a presidential nominee after the week: hotel rooms lapse, delegates leave and the Republican turmoil grows.

On Tuesday’s “Morning Edition,” Evans took it a step further when asked by WABE host Denis O’Hayer what could happen next.

“We’d have to have a backup plan,” said Evans, an attorney for both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Gov. Nathan Deal. “We’ll start looking now at the possibilities of doing that. We may have to go to electronic voting. We may have to do something else. But I do not know.”

The July convention seems destined to become a showdown between frontrunner Donald Trump and two other contenders, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who are aiming to keep him from the 1,237 delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination.

Evans said Tuesday he expected Trump to fall about 75 to 100 delegates short of the mark, which makes the delegate-wrangling that will continue Saturday at district GOP conventions in Georgia all the more important. The 42 delegates Trump won are bound to vote for him in the first ballot, but are free to flee the candidate for another alternative in successive rounds. Cruz’s campaign has aggressively lined up loyalists in Georgia to spurn Trump if given the chance. (Read more about Georgia’s head-spinning delegate selection process here.)

His message for Trump supporters facing the prospect that their candidate may not win the nomination despite a commanding delegate lead: “They just need to show up at the conventions.”

“Everybody used to think you go to the ballot box and that was the end of the day,” he added. “Right now what we know is, you go to the ballot box and you have to go to the conventions.”

Listen to more here.

Insider’s note: Evans will be joining Bill Nigut and another one of your Insiders on GPB’s “Political Rewind” at 2 p.m. Wednesday, where they’ll dig into the topic of Cleveland and delegate intrigue.


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