Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an implicit jab at Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump, said he is “increasingly optimistic” that voting at the Republican National Convention in July will go to a second ballot.
The comments, made over the weekend to WHAS-TV in Louisville, represent a break of sorts for the Kentucky Republican who has sought in public to remain neutral on the race. While McConnell did not openly criticize any candidate, the senator seemed to be rooting for a contested convention – something Trump is battling to avoid, as he tries to lock up the nomination outright before July.
“I’m increasingly optimistic that there actually may be a second ballot,” McConnell told WHAS-TV.
“I want somebody who can win in November and the whole process is about trying to beat Hillary Clinton in November,” he said. “And I think our delegates, if they end up actually having the latitude to make a decision, which would occur on the second and third ballot, are going to be interested in who can win.”
A candidate would have to amass the support of 1,237 delegates in order to clinch the nomination. While it’s still possible for Trump to reach that number ahead of the GOP convention in Cleveland, it’ll be tough. If Trump cannot reach that threshold, voting would proceed to a second ballot at the convention, with a majority of delegates free to vote for whomever they choose. (Read more from “Jab at Trump? McConnell ‘Optimistic’ About Contested Convention” HERE)