Could this summer's RNC be contested?

Posted at 11:59 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 23:59:40-05

In just a few weeks the first 30 of the 2,472 delegates will be awarded by the people of Iowa to those in the crowded field of candidates still vying for the Republican nomination for president, but is it possible that none of the hopefuls will come to Cleveland in July with 50 percent plus 1 of the delegates to claim the nomination?

For the first time in decades given the unpredictability of this year's race thus far, it remains a remote possibility.

"Part of the reason is we're looking at this somewhat three-way split of the Republican vote so far in terms of the polling," said Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University.

"Part one in the Donald Trump phenomena, which doesn't really track necessarily with a particular kind of ideology, if anything it represents elements of the Tea Party, represents the populists."

"Your second piece are your social conservatives who were coalescing around, possibly people like Huckabee early on, Santorum now, they are very much coalescing around Ted Cruz, so he is their candidate.

"And then the third part are the establishment candidates and that's where the real battle is taking place emerging between Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich," Sutton said.

"If you continue to have this kind of three-way split that goes into primaries and caucuses, each of them getting that chunk of votes until the end of the primary season, you could potentially have no candidate having the required majority of delegates to be the presumed nominee."

The closest thing seen to that was 40 years ago when Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford for the nomination in Kansas City in 1976.

"Traditionally what we tend to see is that whoever breaks out in the early lead at best it becomes a two-person race," he said. "I think the likelihood is still very low but because the Trump campaign is such an unusual phenomena in any political situation, that's where this talk about a brokered convention  I think becomes more or an issue."

Even slimmer is the possibility that a "brokered" convention could go beyond four days. That would cause issues on a number of fronts, not the least of which is the fact that although the Quicken Loans Arena would be available, Cleveland is hosting a gathering of Sigma Gamma Rho the next week, which has 7,000 room nights booked in downtown hotels.

Sutton said the reality is the party would do everything in their power to make sure the convention remains on schedule and on-script.

"Parties, whether it's the Democrats or the Republicans want a coalescing, they want unity, they want to bring together the entire party and it's supporters behind one candidate, that is their ideal situation."


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