In an Overcrowded Field, Dropouts Will Play Key Role in Nomination

The smoke-filled room is back.

Or at least that’s what it looked like last week when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and about two dozen other high-ranking Republicans met in Washington to discuss the possibility of a contested convention. Some of these leaders are worried that when the convention rolls around next July, no GOP candidate will have amassed enough delegates to win the nomination – giving current frontrunner Donald Trump the opportunity to wheel and deal his way to the nod.

So how worried should these establishment Republicans be? It’s tough to put a hard probability on a brokered convention occurring, especially when such a probability will change as we move through the primary calendar. But one key factor is candidates dropping out. Specifically, which candidates do so -- and when -- could have an outsized impact on the result of the primary.

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