Rove: Republican primary 'far from settled'
© Getty Images

Republican strategist Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday said the Republican nominating contest is “far from settled.”


Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE scored a very impressive win in Nevada, taking 45.9% and 14 of the state’s 30 delegates to the GOP convention. But the Republican nomination is far from settled,” Rove said in the piece. “After four contests, only 133 of the convention’s 2,472 delegates have been selected.”

The American Crossroads super-PAC leader said Trump’s overwhelming Nevada win is not a sign that conservatives are coalescing around the billionaire businessman, pointing to polls that show late-deciding voters swinging toward primary rival Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' House to vote on Uyghur bill amid diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics This week: Congress poised to go into December overtime MORE.

“The choices made by late-deciding voters would be a sign of consolidation, but in South Carolina Mr. Trump drew only 17% of those who made up their mind in the final week of the campaign,” he said. “Among the 30% in Nevada who decided in the final week, Sen. Marco Rubio carried 42%, far more than any candidate.”

While Rove said Republicans still have an opportunity to rally behind a non-Trump candidate, he said that time is quickly running out to do so.

He said if Trump is victorious in several March 15 winner-take-all contests, including Ohio and Florida, it would take an “extraordinary effort to defeat him.”

“There is still time for the non-Trump GOP majority to coalesce around a single candidate, but not much,” Rove said. “Things can remain somewhat divided on March 1 as long as the majority is largely unified on March 8 and fully behind a single candidate on the Ides of March.”

“If not, the hopes of the party’s non-Trump majority will suffer the same fate as Caesar,” he added.

There is no love lost between Trump and Rove. The real estate mogul has called Rove an “establishment flunky” and said the former senior adviser to President George W. Bush is “going crazy.”

Rove, for his part, has constantly berated Trump as an unelectable candidate, saying he will get “creamed” in a general election match-up against Democratic primary front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE.

This report was updated at 9:08 a.m.