Contested convention possibility grows in CLE

Posted at 6:52 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 18:52:43-05

Quicken Loans Arena has played host to many memorable events since opening its doors in 1994 but none like the floor fight that could play out there this July as the Republican National Convention comes to town with Donald Trump the leader after Super Tuesday.

"That camp is strong for the establishment," WEWS Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin-Wallace University said of the possibility of a contested convention. "They're looking for a way to stop him and at this point the only way to do that is to deny Trump the nomination at the convention."

To do that, Trump would need to be denied a majority of delegates which is why party leaders are getting behind different candidates in different states.

"I'm pulling for John Kasich in Ohio, I'm pulling for Marco in Florida," said former candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Wednesday. "I'm anybody but Trump."

It is a maneuver that could save control of the U.S. Senate but cost the party the presidency.

"There really at this point choosing the less of the bad scenarios to pursue," Sutton said.

One of the things that famed election attorney Ben Ginsberg of Cleveland's Jones Day said on MSNBC to look for would be the delegates themselves.

"73 percent of the delegates are chosen at state conventions or by state party executive committees with little or no input from the candidate who wins that state," Ginsberg said.

"So they're bound to vote for the presidential candidate on the first ballot, they are not bound to vote for the presidential candidate for rules issues, for credentials challenges for the vice presidential nominee or even who the permanent chair of the convention is," he said.

"If you were to devise a plan to stop a runaway nominee you would have to do a lot of state by state organizing."

The rule change issue is important to note because that remains an option for the party. A rules change prior to the 2012 RNC could actually impact this year's race for example.

It required a candidate to get a majority of the delegates in at least eight states in order to have their name placed in nomination at the convention. Something that will likely happen this year after the winner-take-all states kick in on March 15, but no candidate has achieved that yet.

The last contested convention came in 1952 with the Democrats nominating Adlai Stevenson on the third ballot but a contested convention in 1924 took 103 ballots to nominate John Davis.