State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones has been getting more email than usual.
Not from Nigerian princes or dubious web designers promising to jazz up his net life. Not even from actual Oklahomans asking Jones to audit and inspect some nook or cranny of government.
No, this email has been from fellow Republicans urging Jones to help them run the Donald Trump Express off the tracks at next week’s Republican National Convention.
“I’m getting on average 20 or 30 emails a day,” he said earlier this week.
As a member of the Rules Committee, Jones has a say in whether the convention throws open the nomination or sticks to script. Never in the Trump camp, he supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primaries and was elected to the convention as a delegate for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
But he doesn’t think the Rules Committee or the convention will or should deny Trump the party’s nomination.
“The only chance he won’t be the nominee is if Donald Trump stands up before the convention and says, ‘I believe I can’t win, give the nomination to someone else.’ And that’s not going to happen,” Jones said.
Jones and Tulsan Megan Winburn are Oklahoma’s two representatives on the Rules Committee, which meets Thursday and Friday in Cleveland. The committee is the second step in a three-step rule-making process for this convention and for laying out the ground rules for the 2020 state nominating primaries and caucuses.
Rule-making actually began earlier this week when the Republican National Committee — three members from each state and territory — arrived in Cleveland.
Through its own committee system, the RNC formulated recommendations for the delegate committees.
The delegate committees then hash out their own reports, which may or may not follow the RNC recommendations. The delegate committee reports then go to the full convention for consideration and possible amendment, probably on Monday.
Some of the Rules Committee’s 112 members have been lobbying for a “conscience clause” freeing delegates from voting according to the instructions of their state parties — that is, according to the results of state primaries and caucuses.
By doing this, the thinking goes, Trump would lose enough delegates to allow someone else to take the nomination.
Almost no one believes a majority of the Rules Committee will go for this idea, but only 28 votes are required to bring a minority report to the full convention.
Jones said he doesn’t see that happening.
“I think they’ll be lucky to get a half-dozen (votes),” he said.
“My response to the conscience clause is that my conscience tells me to vote the way the people of Oklahoma expect me to vote. And that’s the way they voted.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz actually finished first in Oklahoma’s Republican primary, followed closely by Trump and Rubio. Cruz was allocated 15 delegates to next week’s convention, Trump 14 and Rubio 12.
The convention formally begins Monday afternoon and runs through Thursday evening.
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365