The Republican National Committee has started preparing for a contested national convention, which would follow the primary season should no GOP candidate for president win enough delegates to secure the party's nomination. While calling the need for such plans ultimately unlikely, several GOP leaders at the party's winter meeting in South Carolina told the AP on Wednesday that such preliminary planning is nonetheless actively underway. They stressed it had little to do with concerns about the candidacy of Donald Trump, describing the early work instead as a necessary contingency given the deeply divided Republican field. To win the nomination outright, a successful candidate needs to secure more than half of all available delegates in the primaries.
The RNC will hold a briefing outlining possible scenarios with party officials and the presidential campaigns on Thursday, said Steve Duprey, a Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire. "I never thought we'd deal with this," Duprey noted. "The best way to make sure we don't have some messy fight is if all the campaigns understand the rules and all the members of the RNC understand how this would play out going forward." Added South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore: "The story of this election cycle has been 'expect the unexpected.' So we're getting ahead of it and preparing for every single scenario at the national convention. I don't think it's likely, but it's certainly possible. And you always plan for things that are possible." (Read more Election 2016 stories.)