RNC Chair Reince Priebus: A contested convention "highly unlikely"

The day after the GOP's fifth primary debate, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus brushed off concerns about a possible contested convention during an interview on "CBS This Morning" early Wednesday.

When asked if he expected a brokered convention in Cleveland next year, Priebus said, "I highly doubt it."

"I think most likely we'll have a presumptive nominee by mid-April, end of March -- but probably mid-April," he added. "And you know, it's because of the way the primary rules are set, it's pretty difficult to get to a contested convention. But certainly if that happened we'll be prepared -- but it's highly unlikely."

Talk about a 'brokered' or contested convention reached a fever pitch last week when the Washington Post reported on a dinner where top Republicans discussed what would happen if, in the lead-up to the Cleveland gathering next summer, no candidate received enough delegates to win the nomination.

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Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ben Carson both insinuated late last week that they could leave the party after those discussions. Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the GOP during the debate, and Carson suggested that assurances he had received from Priebus that the GOP wouldn't be doing anything to "thwart the will of the people" had assuaged his concerns.

Priebus further dismissed speculation that the GOP meeting involved manipulation of the primary process.

"People asking questions about how does the winner-take-all primary work and what happens on Super Tuesday, and how many delegates are awarded on March 1st -- those are innocent questions that normal political people ask. It's not a meeting to discuss how we're gonna overthrow the whole process and take over a convention," he said. "That's absurd and I know you're doing the right thing by asking the questions...it's just that that particular narrative is ridiculous."

When asked if some controversial comments from Donald Trump -- the current GOP front-runner -- worried Priebus, the RNC chair said "not particularly."

"I've been through this before as well. I mean, four years ago it was the same thing," Priebus said. "People were saying we're gonna have a contested convention and then it was Herman Cain and then it was Newt Gingrich, and then it was Rick Perry." The GOP field this year is larger and stronger than it was in 2012, however.

When pressed on the party's need to diversify its base and win over minority communities -- voting blocs like Hispanics and African Americans that traditionally lean Democratic -- Priebus assured CBS News that the GOP was doing just that.

"If you're not in on a daily basis in serious Hispanic and black communities across the country, then showing up a few months ahead of time isn't gonna solve the problem," he said. "And what you saw in 2014 was the beginning of a new Republican party, where we almost won the Hispanic vote in Colorado, we got 28 percent of the black vote in Ohio. And it was a combination of yes, being good on the issues, but it was also saturating communities with Republicans that are offering a different vision, better jobs, choice on education. And that kind of message works."