Political parties, not voters, choose their presidential nominees, a Republican convention rules member told CNBC, a day after GOP front-runner Donald Trump rolled up more big primary victories.
“The media has created the perception that the voters choose the nomination. That’s the conflict here,” Curly Haugland, an unbound GOP delegate from North Dakota, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. He even questioned why primaries and caucuses are held.
Haugland is one of 112 Republican delegates who are not required to cast their support for any one candidate because their states and territories don’t hold primaries or caucuses.
Even with Trump‘s huge projected delegate haul in four state primaries Tuesday, the odds are increasing the billionaire businessman may not ultimately get the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the GOP nomination before the convention.
This could lead to a brokered convention, in which unbound delegates, like Haugland, could play a significant swing role on the first ballot to choose a nominee.
Most delegates bound by their state’s primary or caucus results are only committed on the first ballot. If subsequent ballots are needed, virtually all of the delegates can vote any way they want, said Gary Emineth, another unbound delegate from North Dakota.
“It could introduce Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or it could be the other candidates that have already been in the race and are now out of the race [such as] Mike Huckabee [or] Rick Santorum. All those people could eventually become candidates on the floor,” Emineth said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who decided not to run for the White House this year, said in a CNBC interview Tuesday he won’t categorically rule out accepting the GOP nomination if a deadlocked convention were to turn to him. But on Wednesday, a Ryan spokeswoman said the speaker would not accept a Republican nomination for president at a divided convention.
Read more: CNBC