Never Trump groups insist they will keep fighting
© Getty Images

Groups aligned with the Never Trump movement are vowing to keep fighting after the billionaire’s victory in the Indiana primary on Tuesday moved him to the precipice of the GOP presidential nomination.

The biggest anti-Trump super-PAC, Our Principles PAC, said it will continue pushing to force a contested convention as long as Trump remains short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright.

"A substantial number of delegates remain up for grabs in this highly unpredictable year," said Katie Packer, chairwoman of the group.

"In addition, there is more than a month before the California primary — more time for Trump to continue to disqualify himself in the eyes of voters, as he did yet again today spreading absurd tabloid lies about Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Seth Rogen says he's not in a feud with 'fascist' Ted Cruz, whose 'words caused people to die' GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump MORE's father and the JFK assassination,” she said.

Our Principles PAC, which is funded by billionaire Republican mega-donors and has spent more than $16 million opposing Trump so far, saw Indiana as a pivotal state to stop the billionaire's march to the nomination. 

The Never Trump group's hope was that a Cruz win in Indiana would narrow the race to Cruz versus Trump and that Trump's unpopularity among party insiders would ultimately defeat the billionaire at a contested Republican National Convention in July.

But Cruz stumbled in the final week before Indiana as polls showed Trump's lead in the state growing. These stumbles included a bungled alliance with third-place candidate John Kasich and a much-ridiculed cultural misstep in which he called a basketball hoop a "ring."

Packer said her group would fight Trump to the end. Donors, however, might be reluctant to keep funding the Never Trump movement's increasingly improbable quest.

"We continue to give voice to the belief of so many Republicans that Trump is not a conservative, does not represent the values of the Republican Party, cannot beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit More than half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020, setting record MORE, and is simply unfit to be President of the United States," Packer said. 

"We will continue to educate voters about Trump until he, or another candidate, wins the support of a majority of delegates to the Convention."

A second group, the Never Trump PAC, which has a smaller budget and is more focused on digital advertisements, released a statement saying their “mission remains critical.”

However, senior adviser Rory Cooper acknowledged Trump’s Indiana victory “makes the road ahead more challenging.”

Notably, the group appeared to shift its rhetoric away from vowing to block Trump’s path to 1,237 and toward protecting down-ballot Republicans up for election in 2016.

Many Republicans worry that if Trump is at the top of the ticket, Republicans are at risk of losing their majority in the Senate, and possibly even the House.

"We will continue to seek opportunities to oppose his nomination and to draw a clear line between him and the values of the conservative cause,” Cooper said.

“A strong Never Trump movement is critical to protecting Republican incumbents and down-ballot candidates, by distinguishing their values and principles from that of Trump, and protecting them from a wave election.”