As the primary election results from states begin pouring in the Republican vote is split and the numbers are getting closer and closer together. As of March 14th, Trump has a majority of delegate votes at 460, with Cruz closely following at 370 and Rubio and Kasich hanging on with 163 and 63 delegate votes respectively. In order to win the Republican nomination a candidate needs 1,237 delegates out of the 2,457 delegates. Currently 1,401 delegate votes are up for grabs so this election could be any man’s game.
If the Republican vote is divided and no candidate wins the necessary amount of delegate votes a contested convention will occur. Different GOP members have been preparing for the possibility of a contested convention as Trump continues to gain popularity and support from voters. A contested convention is not entirely unheard of; there has been serious talk about possible contested conventions in 1984, 1988, 1992, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Each state gets three types of delegates: (1) at-large-delegates, where each state has ten and is awarded more based on past Republican success in the state and the number of Republicans currently in office, (2) delegates based on the number of congressional districts in the state, three per district, and (3) RNC members who are automatically delegates at the national convention and include the national chairman, national committeewoman, and state chair. For example, Mississippi has less than 3 million people and 40 Republican delegates while Colorado has nearly 5 and a half million people has only 37 delegates.
Each states designates the delegates to the candidates based on one of two methods: proportional, winner takes all, and sometimes a hybrid of these two methods. Proportional allocation method assigns the delegates based on the primary results, so if Trump wins 35% of the primary votes he will be assigned 35% of the state delegates. Winner takes all allocation is just as it sounds, all of the delegates are assigned to the candidate that wins the highest amount of votes in the state. Some states mix these two allocation methods.
If Trump wins all of the winner-takes-all states he will have secured about 500 delegates, almost half of the 1,237 needed to secure the Republican nomination. Here is where the math stops being in Trump’s favor; he would need to win more than 700 delegates in the proportional states to win the nomination. However based off the primaries that have already happened Trump is only leading in votes by about 30%, not enough to win 700 more delegates.
If Trump or another candidate fails to win the 1,237 delegates then the winner of the Republican nomination will be decided at the contested convention. Who will the Republican delegates nominate at this contested convention? Some Republicans have outwardly begged voters not to cast their vote with Donald Trump, see Mitt Romney’s controversial speech on March 3rd, whereas other Republicans, such as Ben Carson, have said that if the Republicans delegates plan to overrule the “will of the voters and replace it will the will of the political elite, I assure you that Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party.” Trump has threatened to leave the Republican Party if he is not nominated, run as an Independent and take his voters with him.
The Florida primary happens on Tuesday, March 15th and whether you are voting Democrat or Republican Platt Hopwood urges all voters to make their voice heard and vote!