McConnell ‘Increasingly Optimistic’ That GOP Will Have Contested Convention

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April 18, 2016 4:08 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell turned down an opportunity to comment on his personal beef with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to implicitly criticize Donald Trump and said he is “increasingly optimistic” that there were would be a contested GOP convention in Cleveland.

McConnell did not call out Trump by name, but when asked by WHAS11ABC over the weekend to comment on Cruz’s refusal to apologize for calling McConnell a liar, the Kentucky Republican instead pivoted to address claims that the delegate system was somehow rigged.

“It is important to for everybody to understand that the convention rules will require you to get 1,237 delegate votes, and until one gets to 1,237, they will not be the nominee,” McConnell said. “So there are some candidates suggesting it’s somehow tricky to simply follow the rules of the convention. We are going to follow the rules of the convention.”

McConnell went on to explain that if a candidate does not have 1,237 delegate votes on the first ballot, about two-thirds of pledged delegates would be freed to vote for someone else on a second ballot.

“I am increasingly optimistic that there actually may be a second ballot,” McConnell said.

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He also said it was “up to the delegates” whether an outsider who had not been running in the primary should be able to come in and win the nomination. He also dismissed concerns that a brokered convention would weaken the party.

“I want somebody who can win in November, and the whole process is about trying to beat Hillary Clinton in November. And I think our delegates, if they end up actually having the latitude to make the decision which would occur on the second or third ballot, are going to be interested in who can win.”

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