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Greg Bluestein

Randy Evans: The Georgia man in the middle of the RNC

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

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

One of the most important figures at the Republican National Convention this month is Georgia delegate Randy Evans, a well-connected lawyer and master of the arcane rules that could decide Donald Trump’s nomination.

Evans is a partner at the legal giant Dentons who represents Gov. Nathan Deal, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and leads the Republican National Lawyers Association as well as Georgia’s judicial nominating commission.

He’s also an influential member of the RNC’s Rules Committee, giving him a prominent role in the ongoing tug-of-war between Trump’s campaign and the persistent, if longshot, bid to stop him.

While he’s officially neutral on the presidential race, he told the AJC he would support Trump and the RNC effort to tamp down rebellions. As a lifelong confidant of Gingrich, on Trump’s short list of running-mate possibilities, he has little reason to defy the billionaire.

Yet he also calls it like it is. He’s attended every Republican convention since Ronald Reagan’s nomination in 1980, so he has a knack for the intrigue at play every four years. This time around, he frequently appears on network TV and national newspapers to detail the “what-ifs” of a Cleveland meltdown.

Before Trump clinched the nomination, he outlined a worst-case scenario at the Cleveland convention if GOPers fail to settle on a presidential pick. And now that Trump is the party’s presumptive nominee, he warns that the Never Trump movement isn’t dead yet. In a recent interview with the AJC, he talked of the latest attempt by anti-Trump forces to block him, starting with a vote at his committee.

“I wouldn’t be telling you the truth to say that it’s not a realistic possibility — and that everyone is gearing up for it,” he told the AJC.

Read more about Evans and the rest of Georgia’s delegation to Cleveland here.

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Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you every key moment in the 2016 presidential race. A team of AJC journalists will be at next month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, continuing to provide that deep coverage.

To track major political developments, check in with the Political Insider blog at http://politics.blog.ajc.com/ or the Georgia Politics page at http://www.myajc.com/s/news/georgia-politics/. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/GAPoliticsNews or Facebook at facebook.com/gapoliticsnewsnow and facebook.com/gregbluesteinajc.