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Viguerie: Conservative Leaders Warn GOP Against Rigged Convention, Parachute Candidate

On the eve of the final RNC meeting before the GOP's national convention an influential group of 33 conservative leaders, including CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie, sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus expressing their concern with “the serious dangers of selecting any nominee who has not been an active candidate in the more than 50 states and territorial primaries and caucuses which have allowed grassroots Republicans to cast their votes and express their will.” 

The group letter said a “parachute” candidate would be un-vetted and without a staff, a national organization, or a candidate fundraising base.  “He would be starting from scratch three months before Election Day.  Against the well-oiled Democrat machine, that candidate would be no match,” concluded the letter’s signers. 

Richard ViguerieThe signers group, which includes unaligned conservatives, as well as some supporters of Senator Ted Cruz and businessman Donald Trump, told Priebus and the members of the RNC that, “millions of these voters will be angered and refuse to participate in November, ensuring the defeat of the GOP ticket, if somehow the rules are manipulated or the bar moved to prevent the open and fair nomination of a candidate chosen by the people.” 

Acknowledging the current divisions in the GOP, the 33-member group, which represents all three legs of the Reagan Coalition (national security conservatives, economic conservatives and cultural conservatives), plus the new 21st century populist conservatives from the Tea Party and constitutional conservative movements, told Chairman Priebus, “There is an enormous task ahead if the GOP is to bring together the many elements essential to unite not only in Cleveland but also in November.” 

The full text of the letter and list of signers follows (organizations listed for identification purposes only):

OPEN LETTER TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE 
No Rigged Convention, No “Parachute” Nominee 

Mr. Reince Priebus 
Republican National Committee 
310 First Street SE 
Washington, DC  20003 

April 18, 2016 

Dear Chairman Priebus and Members of the RNC, 

With record numbers of Republican voters participating in the 2016 Presidential primaries, a weak and vulnerable candidate appearing as the likely Democratic nominee, and millions of Americans reeling from the destructive and dangerous policies of the Obama Administration, a Republican victory could be virtually assured in November.  Unless… 

As representatives of many grassroots conservative organizations, we write to you today to discuss the upcoming Republican Convention in Cleveland.  The over 22 million Republicans who have already voted in the primaries show that conservatives of all persuasions are motivated and eager to participate.  

Conservative voter organizations are working harder than ever to register and bring six million new voters to the polls this November.  In 2012, 43% of voters who supported the Republican Presidential candidate identified as Evangelical Christian.  The enthusiasm and interest of these voters will be affected by policy positions of the Presidential candidate and the National Republican Platform Committee. 

Now to the point, we recognize that the GOP Convention may be an “open” convention if none of the present candidates reach the required 1,237 votes (50%) of all delegates on the first ballot.  This would mean that the majority of assembled delegates would select the party’s standard bearer.  This is in both the longstanding tradition of the party (e.g., Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield, among others) and the rules of the RNC and the convention.  Those rules should not be abused resulting in a “rigged” convention. 

We are very much concerned with the serious dangers of selecting any nominee who has not been an active candidate in the more than 50 states and territorial primaries and caucuses which have allowed grassroots Republicans to cast their votes and express their will. 

Speaker Paul Ryan recently affirmed that the presidential nominee must be someone who has been an active candidate in the primary process. 

We fully agree with Speaker Ryan’s position in this matter.  Here’s why:

1.      The selection of a “parachute” candidate will say to the 22 million Republican voters who have participated in the primaries and caucuses that their voice did not matter. 

2.      Such action would further the perception that a small group of DC insiders, not grassroots Republicans from across the nation, control the Republican Party. 

3.      Many new Republican voters have participated in the primaries -- in most states out-numbering Democrat participation. But as demonstrated in Colorado, however unfairly characterized, millions of these voters will be angered and refuse to participate in November, ensuring the defeat of the GOP ticket, if somehow the rules are manipulated or the bar moved to prevent the open and fair nomination of a candidate chosen by the people. 

4.      The media will pounce, ignoring the flawed “super delegate” Democrat process, declaring the illegitimacy of the hand-selected candidate, and exploit criticisms from any of the three active GOP contenders and their followers. 

5.      The “parachute” candidate would be un-vetted and without a staff, a national organization, or a candidate fundraising base.  He would be starting from scratch three months before Election Day.  Against the well-oiled Democrat machine, that candidate would be no match. 

There is an enormous task ahead if the GOP is to bring together the many elements essential to unite not only in Cleveland but also in November.  These elements include small businesses, veterans, pro-life and pro-family supporters, 2nd Amendment advocates, members of the Tea Party, people concerned about big government and over-regulation, and average American citizens concerned about borders, safety and national security. 

Equally important will be an aggressive appeal to young voters and minority voters.  We believe the GOP has the policies to successfully appeal to all these voters and should welcome them into the coalition. 

We urge you to ensure that the GOP presidential candidate is not a “parachute” candidate angering the 22 million voters who have already cast their votes, and to work with -- not against -- us to end the reign of Barack Obama and restore the future and hope of our great nation. 

In hopeful cooperation and with respect, 

David Barton 
Founder and President of Wallbuilders 

Ralph Benko 
Columnist 

Maureen Blum 
Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives, LLC 

David Bozell 
President, For America 

Susan A. Carleson 
Chairman/CEO, American Civil Rights Union 

Dean Clancy 
Partner, Adams Auld LLC 

Louis Cordia 
Cordia and Associates 

Timothy C. Daughtry 
Author 

Dr. James Dobson 
Family Talk 

Elaine Donnelly 
President, Center for Military Readiness 

Frank Gaffney 
President, Center for Security Policy 

Becky Gerritson 
President, Wetumpka TEA Party (AL) 

Dee Hodges 
President, Maryland Taxpayers Association 

Phil Kerpen 
American Commitment 

Tim LeFever 
Chairman, Capitol Resource Institute 

Clare Lopez 
Vice President for Research & Analysis, Center for Security Policy 

Jim Martin 
Chairman, 60 Plus Association, Inc. 

Melissa Ortiz 
Founder and Principal, Able Americans 

George Rasley 
Editor, ConservativeHQ.com 

Sandy Rios 
Director of Governmental Affairs, American Family Association 

Tommy Sears 
Consultant 

William H. Shaker 
President, RepublicanPac.com 

Jim Simpson 
Investigative Journalist 

Mat Staver, Esq. 

Linda Stenzel 
Michael and Helen Valerio Charitable Trust 

Alex St. James 
Executive Director, Blacks Economic-Security Trust (BEST Trust) & Chairman Emeritus, African American Republican Leadership Council (AARLC) 

Ginni Thomas 
President, Liberty Consulting 

Gayle Trotter 
Columnist and Attorney 

Lewis K. Uhler 
National Tax Limitation Committee 

Helen Valerio 
Michael and Helen Valerio Charitable Trust 

Mike Valerio 
Michael and Helen Valerio Charitable Trust 

Richard A. Viguerie 
Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com 

Tim Wildmon 
President, American Family Association 

ORGANIZATIONS LISTED FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES ONLY

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Ryan as honest broker

It is clear that conservatives, and not just in these pages, have their differences with Paul Ryan on policy and budget matters, however, I believe that his tone has been exactly right regarding the convention.

First as co-chairman and chief gavel-wielder at the convention. Ryan seems to understand that transparency and honesty are vital for his reputation, and for the Party's integrity.

Second, he has declared over and over (sincerely this time) that he has no interest in becoming the nominee via a brokered convention, realizing both that he is not prepared for the task (this year), and that the Party's base will simply stay home if they are treated with such disdain by leadership.

Ryan knows that, if he cannot carry out the job of honest broker at the convention this year, he and the Party are both toast!

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