Republicans debate whether to block ‘fresh face’ from entering presidential race

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a Pittsburgh, Pa., audience on Thursday. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a Pittsburgh, Pa., audience on Thursday. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The last gathering of the Republican National Committee before the party’s July convention kicked off Wednesday with plenty of discussion of a certain front-runner who has accused the party elites of running a “rigged” and “corrupt” nominating system.

As the RNC members gathered in Hollywood, Fla. for the three-day meeting, among the first items up for discussion is a rule change that could benefit Donald Trump and his chief challenger, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

George Bennett, the political guru for our Cox corporate cousins at the Palm Beach Post, is there for the confab. He just filed this dispatch:

Solomon Yue, an RNC committeeman from Oregon, wants the RNC’s Rules Committee to endorse a change in convention rules that he says would make it more difficult for party elites to bring in a “fresh face” at the convention in Cleveland this summer.

Yue would have the convention governed by Roberts Rules of Order rather than by the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The House of Representatives rules, which have been used at past conventions, give more latitude to the convention’s presiding officer — expected to be House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. — to open nominations to consider other candidates if Trump fails to secure the necessary 1,237 delegates on the first ballot. Under Roberts Rules, a majority of convention delegates would have to agree to open the process to consider other candidates.

Yue said his proposal would make it more difficult for anyone other than Trump or Ted Cruz to be considered for the nomination. But Yue said he’s neutral in the race and is only trying to bring transparency to the process, not help a particular candidate.

Read the rest here.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus opposes the rule change, which would require approval by a majority of the convention’s delegates, amid worries that it would confuse attendees.

Also in the house is Atlanta attorney Randy Evans, a RNC big-wig who predicted much debate over a rule that could make-or-break Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the convention. It’s known as Rule 40b, and it requires a candidate to have the majority support of delegates in at least eight states to be placed in nomination. Kasich, who has only won his home state of Ohio, has vigorously opposed the requirement.

But there’s a nuance in the language, and Evans parsed it for The Daily Caller. He said a nominee doesn’t necessarily need to win eight state primary contests, just get the support of eight delegations.

From the story:

“You do not have to win them. Because the rules says you have to demonstrate support of the majority of eight states as opposed to you have to win eight states,” Evans said. “So theoretically you could have a state — and the precedent is that’s what it was designed to do, which is to permit a state you didn’t win to nonetheless support putting your name in nomination.”

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