The GOP delegate count has been a popular trending term since the Republican primary launched earlier this year. While Donald Trump lost in Iowa, he quickly assumed command and has been at the top of the ticket ever since.
The only individual who has gotten close to him along the way is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose personal differences with Trump have divided the party to an extent it hasn’t seen in quite some time.
One of the individuals who will factor into the GOP delegate count — Curly Haugland, an unbound delegate from North Dakota and longstanding RNC official — doesn’t care for Trump’s campaign, and he has made a couple of television appearances lately to undermine the momentum Trump has received from voting primaries.
In his latest, Haugland made a bold, though technically not untrue, statement regarding Trump’s future as the Republican nominee.
Essentially, he could lose even with 1,237 delegates from the voting primaries.
“Even if Trump reaches the magic number of 1,237 the media and RNC are touting, that does not mean Trump is automatically the nominee,” Haugland said in comments to CNBC. “The votes earned during the primary process are only estimates and are not legal convention votes. The only official votes to nominate a candidate are those that are cast from the convention floor.”
Haugland called the GOP delegate count from the voting primaries “an estimate” because delegate eligibility in some cases might be able to be questioned and their status considered invalid, he said.
“Remember every state has a different delegate allocation process. Delegates are picked up in state contests that can be winner take all, open primaries, and remember there are seven states that allow the candidates to pick their own delegates. Until those delegate challenges are settled, there is no 1,237.”
The GOP delegate count from winner-take-all states, Haugland said, would be “most likely challenged.”
Trump has been a critic of the nomination process, but he has yet to respond to Haugland’s overview. This isn’t the first time that Haugland has taken to the airwaves to remind primary voters that their votes don’t really matter.
In a March 2016 appearance on CNN, he charged the media with creating a “perception that the voters choose the nomination.”
The CNN anchors pushed back on this and asked why hold the primaries at all if the voters do not have a say in the outcome, to which Haugland agreed, “That’s a very good question.”
While Haugland is not completely incorrect in how the GOP delegate count works, many have criticized him for buying into a #NeverTrump narrative that could put the Republican party in jeopardy and set it back decades from contending for the White House.
Of the unbound delegates like Haugland who can vote for whomever they want, there are only 112, and at this point, Trump is so far ahead in the voting primaries that Cruz would need a lot more than each one of those unbound delegates to walk away the nominee.
Currently, Trump is ahead of Cruz 996-565. Ohio Governor John Kasich has another 153, so even if he signed over his delegates to Cruz or vice versa and whichever one of them remained got all 112, they would still be losing to Trump by 166 delegates.
Trump has only 241 delegates left to pick up through the voting primaries, so it’s conceivable that he could lose the delegate-rich primary of California (172 delegates) and still walk away the Republican nominee provided that he won the majority of the remaining primaries.
The only problem with this scenario for anti-Trump Republicans like Haugland? Trump is ahead in California. A far more likely scenario, according to the New York Post, is that Trump could end up with the highest GOP delegate count in history.
But what do you think, readers?
Are Republicans like Haugland right to say that Trump could lose even with 1,237, or is this merely an example of sour grapes? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore]