- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2016

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday he would be surprised if the GOP’s eventual pick for president was not someone named Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich, though he wasn’t able to rule out an 11th-hour nominee.

“I can’t 100 percent guarantee that, but I can’t imagine, right now sitting here, it would be anyone but the three remaining candidates,” Mr. Priebus told ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Trump, an outspoken businessman, says his supporters will be angry if he marches into the convention in Cleveland this July with the lion’s share of delegates, but loses the nomination.

Right now, he leads with 678 delegates, compared to 423 for Mr. Cruz, a senator from Texas; and 143 for Mr. Kasich, the governor of Ohio.

Mr. Trump needs 1,237 to secure the nomination.

“I think I may get over that number fairly easily,” Mr. Trump told ABC.

Mr. Trump may have a plurality of the delegates going into convention, but that is not good enough, according to Mr. Priebus.

“You have to have a majority in order to be the nominee of our party,” he said.

Complicating matters, the “Stop Trump” movement, unsettled by his nativist rhetoric and violence at his campaign rallies, is whispering about a third-party candidate to offer an alternative to both Mr. Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump says he is bringing thousands of voters off the sidelines and into the party. To deny him by splitting up the GOP vote, he said, would be a critical error.

“You might as well hand the election to Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Priebus agreed, saying that a third-party run would be ill-timed and doom his party’s chances.

“Of course it would,” he said. “But I also think it’s far too late.”

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