- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2016

Some Republicans dissatisfied with Donald Trump are pushing a new effort to deny Mr. Trump the GOP presidential nomination ahead of the party’s convention next month in Cleveland, saying the convention’s rules committee could allow pledged delegates to vote their conscience and support someone else.

Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state chairman for Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, said there was a call Sunday evening with representatives from across the country, including about 200 GOP delegates.

“I want to remind people — this is very, very important going into the convention — there are no rules right now,” Mr. Lonegan said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mr. Lonegan tossed out Mr. Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as possible alternatives, though he stressed the movement isn’t advocating for any single candidate.

“I don’t care if we go to 5, 6 o’ clock in the morning, 35, 36, 37 ballots — we’re going to pick the candidate best suited to beat Hillary Clinton and advance the Republican party,” Mr. Lonegan said.

Eric Minor, a GOP delegate from Washington state, said on the program that the general plan is to reach out to leaders in all 50 states and the territories and try to get a grassroots movement of delegates who want to stand up and have them be “unbound.”

Mr. Trump has already secured enough delegates bound by party rules to support him to clinch the nomination on the first ballot, though some are arguing that’s not the case.

“The status quo is already that the delegates are unbound,” Mr. Minor said, citing a book co-written by Curly Haugland, an RNC Committeeman from North Dakota.

Mr. Minor also said Mr. Cruz’s team in Washington state has been “absolutely clear” that Mr. Cruz is not interested at all in having people revolt on his behalf and nominate him.

Organizer Kendal Unruh, a GOP delegate from Colorado, is trying to get the rules committee to pass a “conscience clause” that would allow delegates to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Both the Republican National Committee and Mr. Trump have pushed back on such talk.

“All of the discussion about the RNC Rules Committee acting to undermine the presumptive nominee is silly,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said last week. “There is no organized effort, strategy or leader of this so-called movement. It is nothing more than a media creation and a series of tweets.”

Mr. Trump argues such a move would be illegal.

“We — not me — got almost 14 million votes,” he said at a recent rally. “But wouldn’t that be funny? A guy got much less votes, he got no states. ‘Ladies and gentleman, our nominee is …’ I don’t think so.’”

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