Trump won the New Hampshire Primary handily nearly three months ago, but State GOP officials are pushing a plan to block all of Trump's delegates from serving on any of the Key Committees at the National Convention in July.
Instead, the coveted Convention slots would go entirely to delegates assigned to Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, even though Trump won 35 percent of the vote, more than double his closest competitor.
Among the Trump delegates who would be denied potential Committee assignments are Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, who was a New Hampshire operative, and New Hampshire Co-Chairman Stephen Stepanek.
The Trump campaign is crying foul. A Trump Campaign official with knowledge of the situation called it "shameful" and said the State Party was "playing games." The person accused Party leaders of cutting a deal in a "smoke-filled back room" that epitomized the "rigged" system that Trump has railed against on the stump.
Convention Committee assignments are typically arcane and mostly ignored affairs, but with the chance that Republicans could be headed to their first Contested Convention in decades, every small edge has taken on outsize importance and attention.
These controversial assignments were unveiled late Saturday, in a "bcc" email from the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party that said a "slate of candidates has been proposed."
The slate notably installed Jennifer Horn, the State Party Chairwoman, who pointedly criticized Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the country as "un-American," as Chair of the Delegation. Horn, whom Stepanek had called on to resign last fall for anti-Trump remarks, did not return a call for comment. The email from Executive Director Ross Berry gave New Hampshire's delegates less than 48 hours to vote on the slate, with a deadline of noon Monday for "ballots" to be cast. The filling of Committee slots with non-Trump delegates was first reported by the Guardian.
Delegates were told they could either vote for the entire slate or write in names for each of the openings.
Trump's campaign hopes to stop the assignments from being muscled through on Monday. Trump's New Hampshire win netted him 11 of the 23 delegate slots in the State, meaning that if all the non-Trump delegates voted in a bloc they could conceivably push through the proposed slate over Team Trump's objections.
It's not clear that anti-Trump forces are that organized, however.
Bill O'Brien, who Co-Chaired Cruz's New Hampshire campaign and is a Convention delegate assigned to the Credentials panel in the slate, said he hadn't been involved with the slate's creation and did not yet know how he would vote. He said he'd informed Cruz's Houston headquarters of its existence and was "sort of waiting for the campaign to decide what to do with it."
For now, the slate assigns O'Brien and Melissa Stevens, a Bush delegate, to the Credentials Committee. Horn and Gordon Macdonald, a Rubio delegate, were placed on the Permanent Organization Committee. Tom Rath, a Kasich delegate, was assigned to the Platform Committee and the second slot, reserved for a woman, was unfilled.
And on the Rules Committee, perhaps the most important if the race ends up at the first Contested Convention in a generation, the slate placed Steve Duprey and Juliana Bergeron, the Republican National Committeeman and Committeewoman. Both are officially neutral, though they are assigned to the Kasich and Cruz delegations, respectively.
Often, such assignments, along with the selection of the Delegation Chair, are made during an in-person meeting of the Convention delegates, but the New Hampshire GOP bypassed that process. The Trump campaign was investigating whether such a short cut was even allowable under Party rules.
A Trump official said the campaign had reached out to the Republican National Committee (RNC) over the weekend but had not gotten a response. The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for this story, either.
Meanwhile, the hours were quickly ticking down to the noon deadline on Monday, when the New Hampshire GOP said it would disclose the outcome.
"In the interest of transparency, the vote will be published, including how each delegate voted, on Monday when the vote has closed," Berry wrote in the email.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker