PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele assessed the party’s primary race following the voting in Wisconsin and said neither Ted Cruz nor Donald Trump are in as comfortable a position as their campaigns claim.
Steele, during an interview with Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, stated that Cruz’s victory in Wisconsin, while impressive, was not built on loyal followers rushing to the polls for their candidate of choice.
“It’s a reset for those who are trying to stop Trump. They look at it that way with some degree of legitimacy. If I’m Ted Cruz though, I have to be a little bit concerned about the fact that you’ve got a lot of cynics who are supporting you for the Presidency who really don’t want you to be the nominee of the party but only see you as a stop gap to Donald Trump. So this victory, in some respects, can be a little hollow if the reality of it is, when you get to the convention, all those delegates decide that they’re going to go somewhere else.”
As for Trump, he believes the current delegate leader is going to need significant assistance from rivals or former rivals to surpass the needed threshold.
“If all things stay the way they are, at least projected right now, he should be about 40 to 50 delegates short of the 1237 that he needs in which case, his folks are going to be negotiating like crazy with Kasich and Rubio and others, who still may have some delegates to get as close as he can to that 1237 on the first ballot.”
Steele also made clear that nominating a yet unnamed candidate, like Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as a compromise if no candidate can get enough votes would cause too many problems for the GOP in the long run.
“What they would do, at the convention, if they’re down to the 7th, 8th, 12th, 15th ballot and everyone goes here’s the consensus guy and they put Ryan’s name in there and, presumably, that would be enough to trigger all those delegates to fall, at least 1237 of them, into his camp, coming out that, they would then have a massive effort of getting his name onto the ballots across the country. He’d have to ramp up a presidential campaign coming out of the convention. I don’t know how he does that. There’s no amount of work that the party’s going to be able to do that’s going to be able to cover all the bases that need to be covered.”