WASHINGTON (UPI) — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said his group would consider withholding crucial GOP voter data from candidates who do not abide a pledge they have all signed to support the party’s eventual presidential nominee.
Priebus, speaking on Fox News on Thursday, said part of the pledge the candidates signed included access to the party’s data on Republican voters across the country. The lists are crucial to running sophisticated voter contact and turnout operations.
“They’re not going to get the data and the tools of the RNC — and run to be our nominee — and tell me that they’re not going to support the party,” Priebus said on Fox. “It doesn’t work that way. They’re running to be the nominee of our party.”
The remarks come after all three remaining candidates for the GOP nomination, front-runner Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich, backed away from the GOP loyalty pledge they all signed, promising to support the primary winner.
Priebus acknowledged part of the reason the candidates are hedging is the possibility the three men would enter a GOP convention without a consensus nominee on the first ballot. If no man reaches the 1,237 delegates needed to lock up the nomination, it could lead to a floor fight made more difficult by prior promises to support one another.
“What candidates are now portraying out for the public to listen to is, you know, I think a bit of posturing,” Priebus said. “I’m not really worried about in regards to supporting the eventual nominee or the party.”
Priebus met privately with Trump at RNC headquarters Thursday, with Trump saying afterward he’s confident he will unite the party behind him if he is the nominee.
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