The GOP presidential nomination fight has lasted several months and now talk of a contested or a brokered convention is being taken more seriously. Most Americans are not familiar with these terms, so what do they mean?
For the first time since 1976, the Republican presidential nominee might be decided at the national convention rather than on the campaign trail. A contested convention occurs when no candidate has the required 1,444 delegates to win the nomination. The Associated Press keeps a running tally of the current delegate count and here’s where it stands now:
Mitt Romney has 563
Rick Santorum has 263
Newt Gingrich has 135
Ron Paul has 50
When the GOP convention is held this August in Tampa, it is possible that no candidate will have the clear majority and then the delegates (people chosen to represent each state at the convention) will vote again. This is when a convention is considered to be contested. The delegates vote on the convention floor. It may take a ballot or two to determine a majority and then the convention would proceed as normal with the nominee for president.
The last GOP contested convention was in 1976 when Ronald Reagan challenged the incumbent President Gerald Ford.
That is not the only scenario, however. If the delegates can’t agree, someone new could be brought into the field. Some possible names being discussed include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and even Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. This would be a brokered convention. Brokered conventions are rare and only occur when no candidate has a pre-existing majority at its nominating convention. The last winning presidential nominee from a brokered convention was Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) in 1932.
A brokered convention in 2012 would certainly be exciting.