Game Over?
RNC members are divided on the merits of a brokered convention.


Three months have passed, 36 states and territories have voted, and the Republican party has yet to settle on a presidential nominee. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have pinned their hopes on a brokered convention in which committee members, most of whom can vote independently, could play a decisive role. Nonetheless, members of the Republican National Committee tell National Review Online that a brokered convention is unlikely to happen. And thankfully so, since most members believe it would harm the party’s chances of victory in November.

“There won’t be a brokered convention,” says Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont GOP. Mitt Romney is “more than halfway there” in terms of delegates, he argues. “I don’t know where the other guys’ Kool-Aid is coming from.”

Slightly more circumspect, Jim Bopp, national committeeman for Indiana, tells NRO that a brokered convention is “extremely unlikely.”

“To me it’s obvious that Mitt Romney has a substantial lead,” says Joe Trillo, national committeeman for Rhode Island. “And I think as it gets closer to the convention the other candidates should certainly step aside.”

There’s not much sympathy for ex–speaker of the House Newt Gingrich among these members. “I don’t understand where the heck Newt is,” says Pat Longo, national committeewoman for Connecticut. “One day he says Romney is the likely nominee; today I read that he wants his positions in the platform. I’ve served on a platform committee twice, and, quite frankly, I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of changes.”

“Gingrich doesn’t have a chance; he’s just being Gingrich,” says Jody Dow, national committeewoman for Massachusetts.

It’s worth noting that all of the foregoing Republicans are Romney supporters.

“I think Newt has gotten into the Don Quixote mode,” says Bob Bennett, national committeeman for Ohio. “I think he’s tilting at windmills.”

Not everybody is convinced the race is over. “All three candidates are a long way from 1,144 delegates,” says Peggy Lambert, national committeewoman for Tennessee. Nonetheless, she adds that those candidates who are “so far behind that they don’t really have a chance, I think they should drop out. But I’d like to keep Newt Gingrich’s pugnaciousness in there.”

Sandy Boehler, national committeewoman for North Dakota, is similarly torn over the pros and cons of a brokered convention. “I’ve kind of been looking forward to the excitement,” she admits. “It just brings the adrenaline out.”

“The president gets ink every day whether he likes it or not, so we are in a position to compete because there’s news — there’s something going on,” says Mark Zaccaria, chairman of the Rhode Island GOP. Zaccaria, however, thinks Romney will win the nomination before the first ballot is cast.