If Trump Can’t Get 1237, Convention Could be Wild Ride

A presidential campaign full of surprises could yet have some bombshells, according to former Gov. Mike Leavitt — especially if Donald Trump can’t win a majority vote in the first round of delegate voting at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21.

Speaking Tuesday at the Thought Leader Symposium luncheon, presented by World Trade Center Utah and Zions Bank at Grand America Hotel, Leavitt said Americans are about to get a crash course in the presidential nomination process. Plenty of intrigue and drama will occur in state-by-state delegate selections and especially in the Rule Committee at the national convention.

Leavitt was the chief delegate counter for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. He said one of four scenarios is likely to play out in Cleveland, in order of likelihood:

  1. Trump gets 1,237 delegate votes, or close to that number, and wins the nomination.
  2. Trump lacks 100-150 votes, and on a subsequent voting round delegates turn to Ted Cruz, with the second most delegates, and he gets the nomination.
  3. Neither Trump or Cruz can get to the 1,237 number, and delegates give the nomination to the other Republican in the race, John Kasich, deeming him the candidate most likely to beat the Democratic nominee.
  4. Delegates can’t agree on one of the three current candidates, and they draft some other Republican leader, perhaps someone who didn’t even run this year.

National GOP and Democratic conventions have been contested 16 times over the years, and several times the leading vote-getter going into the convention did not win the nomination, Leavitt said.

Trump still has the clearest path to the nomination, Leavitt said, but it’s entirely possible he won’t have enough votes to win the nomination on the first ballot. If the convention drags on, it will become very interesting as delegates need to get home to jobs and families. Some major rules fights could break out as leaders try to get a nominee selected.

“After four or five rounds of voting, we’ll see rules changed, and new solutions will come forth,” Leavitt said. “We’ll be in uncharted territory.” All the campaigns will try to get their supporters on the Rules Committee, he said.

“It will be a great lesson in how our political party nomination process works,” Leavitt said.