Contested GOP convention likely, former Utah Gov. Leavitt says

Posted at 11:05 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 01:05:43-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It’s no secret former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a fan of Donald Trump.

"He's playing the members of the American public for suckers.  He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hand,” Romney said during a speech in early March at the University of Utah.

What may have been a secret until now is Romney’s behind the scenes role trying to derail Trump’s shot at the White House.

Citing a top Jon Kasich aide, CNN is reporting Romney contacted the campaign manager for Ted Cruz, encouraging him to work with Kasich to keep Trump from securing the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination.

"I'm sure there are more conversations than anyone can imagine going on from all the different sides,” said Boyd Matheson, president of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank in Utah.

Matheson thinks Romney could be involved, but it’s not just Romney he’s citing as having an impact. He thinks the entire state of Utah and its voters sent a message.

"What does Utah understand that the rest of the country has seemed to miss or seemed to ignore?” Matheson questioned.

With a thriving economy and stable social structure, Matheson calls Utah a model many states would like to follow. He said the message from Utah voters on caucus night is easy to read: if you want success like Utah, Trump’s not for you.

"Utah resoundingly rejected the mantra of fear and angst and anger and frustration,” Matheson said.

Trump has a big delegate lead with 739, compared to Cruz at 460 and Kasich at 145, according to CNN.

"I think both Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich are viable candidates under certain scenarios,” said former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt said the most likely scenario for either Cruz or Kasich to win the nomination is to force a brokered convention.

"One of the big questions is whether or not there will be any cooperation between them with a unified goal of finding ways to stop Donald Trump from getting 1,237 delegates,” Leavitt said.

According to CNN’s report, it’s Romney pulling the strings to foster cooperation between Cruz and Kasich.

But CNN reports so far, Cruz’s campaign does not appear to be interested.