NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)—Dozens of Donald Trump supporters gathered in Nashville Saturday to protest what they said was an attempt to “steal” rightful delegates from the GOP front-runner.
According to WKRN, the group of supporters gathered outside of a Hillsboro Village office building where the meeting was taking place, holding signs and chanting, “We want Trump!”
The state director for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign emailed supporters Friday, alleging that the Tennessee Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes, planned to appoint anti-Trump delegates.
Donald Trump won Tennessee’s primary on March 1st. But those delegates are only bound to Trump through the first two rounds of balloting at the Republican National Convention. That means, delegates who are not loyal to Trump, or any other 2016 presidential hopeful, could switch to a different candidate on a third ballot.
The Tennessee Republican Party announced in March that 33 of the 58 delegates are to go to Trump, 16 to Ted Cruz and nine to Marco Rubio.
The Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee (SEC) is responsible for appointing 14 at large delegates to the Republican National Convention in July.
Going into the convention, delegates are bound to vote for a particular candidate, based on the percentage of votes that each candidate received in the state primary on March 1.
However, if no candidate gets a majority of delegate votes at the convention, the delegates re-vote until a candidate does win a majority.
Former Unicoi County Sheriff, and Delegate David “Kent Harris attended the meeting in Nashville. His concern is that if delegates vote multiple times at the convention, some of the SEC-appointed delegates could switch their votes from Trump towards a so-called “establishment” candidate in later rounds of voting.
In Saturday’s meeting, a pre-determined slate of 14 delegates was submitted to the committee for a yes or no vote. Ultimately, the SEC voted to approve the controversial slate of delegates.
“It is disappointing and sad,” said Harris.
Harris said he was also disappointed in the venue. He said officials told everyone the room had reached capacity, and no members of the public were allowed inside.
“I’m just very aggravated with the leadership and the parties, for bypassing what the people want,” said Harris. “That’s not America.”
The Republican National Convention will start on July 18th in Cleveland. Harris said he will be attending the conference.