Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is plotting to take the Republican nomination away from Donald Trump using surreptitious tactics at a so-called “brokered convention,” according to an audio recording of his campaign manger in a private meeting with high dollar donors in Manhattan obtained exclusively by Breitbart News.
Last Wednesday evening in New York, according to CNN, Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan met privately with a group of supporters and top donors to chart Rubio’s path forward heading into Super Tuesday after abysmal performances from the first-term Florid Senator so far. During the meeting, Sullivan walked Rubio’s money men through the scenario he envisions he will use to stop Trump.
An audio recording of Sullivan giving the powerpoint presentation obtained exclusively by Breitbart News shows Sullivan plotting for a brokered convention.
“That is – I know if you watch the cable shows, they’re pretty breathless right about now that this is it, nothing is stopping Donald Trump,” Sullivan says at the opening of his remarks on aiming for brokered convention. “He can’t be stopped. He has got more momentum, this is it. It is over.”
But, Sullivan argued in the pre-Super Tuesday session: “5.3 percent of the delegates allocated in this thing. We have 94.7 percent remaining. You need to get to 1,237 delegates to win this thing.”
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO RECORDING:
The presentation came the day after Trump destroyed the rest of the field in Nevada among every demographic including Hispanics. Rubio finished more than 20 percent behind Trump, getting only 7 delegates—half of Trump’s 14 delegates. That was an embarrassing finish for Rubio, who spent much of his childhood in Las Vegas and emphasized the Silver State, campaigning there heavily throughout the course of 2015 and early 2016. That bad finish for Rubio came after three previous disappointments.
On Feb. 1, Rubio finished in third in Iowa with just 23 percent of the vote. He pulled in 7 delegates, the same amount Trump’s second place with 24 percent won the national frontrunner and one fewer than Iowa caucuses winner Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who got 8 delegates there. In New Hampshire, Trump’s astounding 35 percent victory—20 points better than Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 15 percent—won Trump 11 delegates. Kasich got 4, Cruz won 3 with an 11.7 percent third place finish, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush beat Rubio out for fourth place winning 3 delegates. Rubio’s abysmal fifth place finish with just 10.6 percent won him only 2 New Hampshire delegates.
A couple weeks later in South Carolina, Rubio similarly failed to meet expectations. Even with the Palmetto State’s governor, Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) campaigning for him—and Sullivan hailing from South Carolina—Rubio failed to win the state after his team was previously telling people he’d finish in third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and first in South Carolina, his 3-2-1 strategy. Trump’s definitive 32.5 percent victory there won him all 50 delegates in South Carolina, and Rubio came up empty as did everyone else.
Sullivan argued in the meeting in Manhattan that according to South Carolina exit polling, late deciders in these primaries are breaking for Rubio in a big way—so it’s not time to throw in the towel just yet. Exit polling from Virginia on Super Tuesday seemed to back that point up, but again like South Carolina—it was too little too late and Rubio lost to Trump.
“This is the exit polling in South Carolina, just kind of to give you a little – kind of a snapshot of the public,” Sullivan told the donors.
All of these states, when you start to looking at it, they close quickly at the end. People start paying attention, voters – there’s a big difference between a voter’s position on who they support and who they’re going to vote for two weeks before the election, a week before the election, a day before the election. That’s when it matters. We start to see here – and this is voters who decide in the last week who they are going to support, 28 percent chose Marco Rubio. On the electability, that was 47 percent. That is an angle we’re pushing hard because we know that we are the best candidate to beat Hillary, or Bernie. We are confident about that, and we know the voters are confident about that and they want him to win.
Sullivan added that this trend has been seen around the country. “That 28 percent close in the final week, that’s indicative of what we saw in Iowa and then, to a lesser extent in New Hampshire, obviously, that was not a good state for us – had a bad run there,” Sullivan said.
When Sullivan was giving this presentation, the final delegate counts from Nevada had not yet been totaled. But heading into Super Tuesday, Trump had 82 delegates while Cruz had 17 delegates and Rubio had 16 delegates. While the totals aren’t yet completely tabulated for Super Tuesday, Rubio—by any calculation—fared especially poorly since he failed to hit the 20 percent threshold statewide in Texas meaning he only will from there win a handful of delegates from congressional districts in which he topped 20 percent.
Rubio similarly failed in Alabama, winning just 1 of 50 delegates up for grabs—and the first term Florida senator only one won state, a victory in Minnesota. That prompted comparisons between Rubio and Walter Mondale, with some calling him “Marco Mondale” since the 1984 Democratic presidential candidate against incumbent President Ronald Reagan won only Minnesota and no other U.S. States. The unfortunate turn of events for Rubio also undercuts his carefully crafted image as the standard bearer of the next generation of Reagan’s legacy, since Rubio has only won where Reagan lost.
Back then, while publicly projecting that they could potentially beat Trump in a race to 1,237 delegates to win outright, Sullivan had already signaled that the race is about trying to broker the convention. At such a brokered convention, Sullivan’s plan to help swing it for Rubio even if Rubio has fewer delegates than Trump is to convince the delegates to back Rubio on a second ballot—where they would be technically unbound—and thereby essentially take the nomination away from Trump, its rightful winner if he has the most delegates.
“What this really comes down to, this race going forward on these delegates, is a race to get the most delegates at convention,” Sullivan said in the private Manhattan meeting.
If nobody gets to 50 percent of the delegates, if nobody gets to 1,237, then there’s a floor fight and delegates in most of these states, every state has different rules on these delegates, most of these states – the delegates are no longer bound after the first ballot. So if nobody has 50 percent, they do a perfunctory ballot, no one gets there. No one gets to 1,237, and then the vast majority of the next round of voting are free agents.
Sullivan further explained who the delegates actually are, and how they’re not people loyal to Trump in any way—but really party insiders.
“The interesting thing without getting too far into the weeds of these delegates is – you know, a little over 95 percent of the [inaudible], the delegates aren’t selected by the campaigns,” Sullivan said.
Donald Trump doesn’t choose his delegates for the national convention, I don’t choose Marco Rubio’s, Ted Cruz doesn’t choose his. These are people –in many cases who have already started the process, they ran on a slate at their precinct, then it was GOP conventions, then at their state conventions, to become a delegate for the national convention. Some of you I know have been delegates in the national convention here, different way, different state, it’s a pretty laborious process. It is generally not someone who just – a casual voter if you will, or someone who is just suddenly energized. These are people who have been involved in the process for a long time, have relationships with other activists, because you’re elected at your state convention. So why that’s important—and I know I’m side tracking, but this is an important [point]—when you show up at the convention, if I just say, ‘I want to go to Cleveland, because well it’s a fun place to go hangout in July—thank you Reince Priebus. After I spend 15 minutes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’ Most of the people go to these conventions because they believe in the Republican Party, they believe in a core set of issues, they’ve been doing this for a while.
In continuing to explain it, Sullivan even admitted that the debate audiences have been stacked against Trump and for Rubio—something the Rubio campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have repeatedly denied.
“Most of them it’s not their first time: these are repeat delegates,” Sullivan said.
None of them look like a Donald Trump supporter. None of them look like a Donald Trump supporter. So my point in this little deviation here is: should this go to the convention, that’s a real problem for Donald Trump because he’s got to start persuading these same—the people that he’s getting booed at, that he’s talking about these debates that he’s mocking, you know what those are? You know what I like to call them? Delegates.
In this pre-Super Tuesday presentation by Sullivan, the Rubio campaign manager also made some fairly bold predictions that his boss fell well short of on election day. First, while he was right when he predicted that Cruz would win Texas, he was wrong about predicting a bounce for both second and third place finishers.
“Cruz will win Texas, which will be the biggest prize on March 1, but even with his win—first place finish—in Texas, he is not going to get the kind of bounce out of that … because the second place person in the state of Texas is going to get delegates, and the third place person in Texas is going to get delegates,” Sullivan said.
And that’s what matters. Whoever wrote the memos, it looks great to see Rubio in first place, second place, third place or fourth or fifth or all the way down on election night. What really matters is how many delegates do they have? That’s what is most important. And so to that point: we – coming in third in Texas, that should get you a lot of delegates. And then going over and playing in other states that matter more: Virginia is not proportional by congressional district; that’s a smart place to win. We’ve gone through this map and I don’t mean we’ve gone through this map in the last few weeks.
Cruz did win Texas, and he won it big with nearly 44 percent of the vote. While all of Texas’ 155 delegates haven’t yet been apportioned according to Politico, Cruz currently has 99 delegates there. Trump, who finished in second with nearly 27 percent, pulled down as of Wednesday afternoon 38 delegates. Rubio, as of Wednesday afternoon, got just 4 delegates since he missed the mark of 20 percent statewide to win a proportional share of the state delegates and only reached 20 percent in a couple congressional districts to pick up the scraps.
That may change, but not significantly, as the state’s final 14 delegates are apportioned. Rubio missed the 20 percent mark elsewhere throughout the country on Super Tuesday as well, earning just 1 delegate in Alabama thanks to a congressional district he hit 20 percent in for instance.
Rubio also lost Virginia to Trump despite Sullivan’s prediction nearly a week before Super Tuesday that is “a smart place to win.” Trump’s 34.7 percent in Virginia earned him 17 delegates, while Rubio’s second place 31.9 percent earned him 16 delegates.
Rubio failed to win Oklahoma, too, despite his campaign predicting he would win there–not place or show–according to Bloomberg News. In Oklahoma, Rubio placed third with just 26 percent winning only 11 delegates. Cruz’s 34.4 percent won the state–and 14 delegates–while Trump’s 28.3 percent won got the businessman 12 delegates.
Rubio underperforming in even accumulating delegates in proportional states makes it even more difficult for him to come back form the brink later in the game, or to broker the convention. The delegate count currently stands at 319 for Trump, 226 for Cruz, 110 for Rubio and 25 for Kasich. There’s a handful more Super Tuesday delegates to be apportioned in Vermont, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee.
Sullivan, in his donor meeting, also laid out that Rubio has been planning to run for president since right after he got into the U.S. Senate, something that may explain Rubio’s serious delinquency as a U.S. Senator. Rubio has the worst attendance record—for voting and for committee hearings, including hearings regarding matters of national security—of any member of the U.S. Senate at this time. A senior adviser to Trump, Stephen Miller, even went so far on Wednesday to suggest that Rubio has “defrauded” the taxpayers of Florida and should repay his salary of more than $1 million over his time in the Senate back to the treasury with interest.
Part of Rubio’s delinquency as a Senator seems to be because, as Sullivan reveals in this private Manhattan donor meeting, that he’s been running for president for years—and that Sullivan, while working for Rubio even before he senator announced his campaign, was tasked with pulling together plans for the senator to run.
“I’ve worked for Marco now for five years,” Sullivan said.
It’s the longest I’ve worked—I’ve been running these campaigns my entire life – it’s the longest I’ve worked for any candidate exclusively. This isn’t something that we’ve started taking lightly, I fully believe that you don’t wake up one day and decide to start running for president and then start an organization. So it was my job to start thinking of these things years ago and start planning this, should he want to make that decision, so that he was ready on day one. So little – probably about a year and a half ago, right after the November election, I was prepared. And I sat down, with a Power Point presentation—actually 20 times as long as this, actually more than 20 times as long as this—but with some of these same slides, walking through.
Rubio’s campaign has not responded to a request for comment.