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Priebus

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — Repub­lican National Com­mittee Chairman Reince Priebus rebuked Mitt Romney’s recent com­ments attempting to rally a third party pres­i­dential can­didate to block Donald Trump from securing the Repub­lican pres­i­dential nom­i­nation during a speech on Friday at the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Con­ference.

“Let me just clear some­thing up for everybody,” Priebus said. “Whoever the nominee is for our party, they will get the full backing and 100 percent support from the Repub­lican party. We don’t take sides. I think the odds of a con­tested con­vention are very small.”

Priebus dis­cussed the state of the Repub­lican party, specif­i­cally the pres­i­dential race, during a public Q&A session with Sean Hannity. At one point, Hannity addressed the crowd asking them if they had seen Rom­ney’s speech. The crowed responded with booes.

“I voted for Mitt Romney in 2008,” Hannity said, “and I have to say I am not happy with the speech he gave yes­terday.”

CPAC attendee Michelle Strinden said while she per­sonally doesn’t hope Trump wins the pres­i­dential nom­i­nation, Romney’s push for a bro­kered con­vention would harm the Repub­lican Party more than it would help.

“I agree with Priebus,” Striden said. “I’m a Cruz sup­porter, and I’m not a Trump fan. But, I don’t think we need to manip­ulate the system with a bro­kered con­vention.”

Priebus said while the sig­nif­icant response to GOP drama comes off as dis­unity, it is also an indi­cator of energy within the Repub­lican Party.

“There is some drama; we know that; there is intrigue, but with all of that comes a huge level of enthu­siasm,” Priebus said. “We are seeing a his­toric turnout across this country like we’ve never seen before. We had 17 million people watching the Fox News debate last night. It’s amazing.”

In addition to dis­cussing the current pres­i­dential election, Priebus said the RNC is finan­cially stronger than the Demo­c­ratic National Com­mittee and its efforts to secure the pres­i­dency.

“We are twice as big as the DNC,” Priebus said. “If you compare RNC vs. DNC fundraising, they aren’t even close. But they aren’t our com­pe­tition — our com­pe­tition is Hillary Clinton and her machine.”

Priebus con­cluded his com­ments saying the focus of the RNC will be in giving full support to the next nominee. He said they will “save the Supreme Court for the next gen­er­ation.”

CPAC attendee John Hubbard said, overall, he was excited by the RNC’s efforts to unite the party and fight off Clinton’s run for the pres­i­dency. He said he believes Romney’s idea of a third party can­didate would harm its mission.

“They’re doing a lot,” Hubbard said. “Nobody should want to vote for the Democrats. Anyone who will­ingly chooses to vote for another can­didate by cre­ating a bro­kered Repub­lican National Con­vention will be making a big mistake.”

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Thomas Novelly
Collegian Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Novelly was born in Novi, Michigan, but was raised in Franklin, Tennessee, making him a self-proclaimed "Yankee gone South." Thomas began writing for The Collegian as a sophomore, and since has served as a reporter, columnist, and Assistant City News Editor. He has also worked for two major publications, interning at the Washington Free Beacon in D.C. and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has been seen in National publications such as CBS News, National Review Online, Stars And Stripes, and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.