Trump Campaign Alleges 'Theft' as Tenn. GOP Picks Delegates

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 8:51 AM

At issue were the state'south remaining fourteen at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention, which were appointed Saturday by the TN GOP Executive Committee.

Trump Campaign Alleges 'Theft' as Tenn. GOP Picks Delegates

Threats, passionate protests and accusations of theft were all on tap at Saturday'south TN Republican Party Executive Committee meeting, where Donald Trump backers protested what they said was an attempt to "steal" rightful delegates from the GOP front-runner.

At issue were the state'south remaining fourteen at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention, which were appointed Saturday by the TN GOP Executive Committee. From the results of the primary, which Trump won by fourteen points, he was due to receive seven delegates from the fourteen.

Trump'south campaign earlier this week met with the state GOP chairman to outline its preferred slate of delegates, but the final slate only included a piece of the people the campaign proposed.

Darren Morris, state director of Trump'south campaign in Tennessee, told The Tennessean newspaper that TN GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes on Wednesday agreed to appoint all seven of the Trump campaign'south proposed delegates.

That prompted claims from the Trump campaign that "a tiny grouping of TN establishment insiders" were trying to "steal" votes from Trump supporters, according to a tweet from Trump senior adviser Dan Scavino.

"They wish to appoint people who support Jeb Bush, John Kasich and others to represent the delegate slots that Donald Trump won on March one OBJECTIVE AND SQUARE," he tweeted.

Haynes said he made number such promise to the Trump campaign — "I'm not in the business of cutting deals."

He said the TN GOP bylaws only require that the executive committee get into consideration the campaigns' proposed delegates, but ultimately they've final declare over the fourteen at-large delegates.

"What we attempt and do is we also attempt and recognize individuals that have done exemplary work for candidates, or committed a lot of their time and energy to pushing back on liberal policies. We attempt to create sure they obtain an opportunity to go to Cleveland and partake in the party process," he said.

Haynes well-known that the delegates proposed by the executive committee are voted on as a full slate, and so the committee should get into account whether the slate can pass. He pointed to one of Trump'south proposed delegates — Label Winslow, who sued the TN Republican Party three years ago — as an example of a delegate who wouldn't pass muster with the full committee.

But Scavino'south tweet, and a warning sent out by Morris on Friday night, activated an impassioned network of Trump supporters in Tennessee, many of whom showed up to the meeting bearing signs pledging their support for Trump. Videos tweeted from interior the gathering showed an at times contentious meeting, with members shouting over one another.

The TN GOP hired additional security for the meeting because of a no of threats sent by Trump supporters on social media. And Haynes said his cell phone was flooded with calls from mad Trump supporters, to the point that he presently has to obtain a new phone.

He suggested the act was one of "intimidation."

"That'south not something we'd do to any of our campaigns. We're not in the business of trying to harass or intimidate anyone here at the TN Republican Party — we're in the process of putting forward solutions to our nation'south problems," Haynes said.

The Trump campaign dismissed those charges, with Trump Senior Adviser Barry Bennett saying the backlash should arrive as number surprise.

"They changed the slate last-minute — they shouldn't be surprised that the public'south angry," he said.

But Trump himself indicated he was pleased with at minimum one of the delegates he was appointed at the state executive committee meeting on Saturday, tweeting out his satisfaction.

Still, the controversy highlighted a broader issue within the Trump campaign — its struggles to realize and work within the sometimes arcane rules that govern delegate allocation at the state level. Those struggles have set him back in the delegate fight in LA and potentially Colorado.

That'south become hugely necessary for the remaining campaigns as it'south become increasingly likely that the GOP primary will head to a brokered convention, where delegates will be engaged in in multiple rounds of balloting until a candidate can cobble together a majority.

If Trump is unable to win the nomination outright on the first circular of voting, many of his and other candidates' delegates will be released and can vote for whomever they please. With that in mind, each of the candidates are jockeying to obtain their loyalists elected at the state level as delegates to the national convention.

In Tennessee, delegates are bound on the first two rounds of voting, and then set free. But Bennett said the Trump campaign is also concerned about ensuring Trump supporters obtain appointed to a handful of key committees that determine the rules governing how a candidate qualifies for the nomination.

"Some of the establishment guys who were on the ballot as delegates for Rubio and [Jeb] Bush — presently they suddenly are Trump delegates or Cruz delegates, and so they could potentially modify the rules so an establishment guy can obtain nominated," he said.

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