GOP taps party insider as convention chairman
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The Republican National Committee has tapped longtime party insider and former Congresswoman Enid Mickelsen to chair the powerful rules committee.

The RNC announced the appointment in a statement from Chairman Reince Priebus Friday that lauded Mickelsen's "track record of excellence and fair-mindedness."

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Mickelsen, who represented Utah in Congress from 1995-1996, will be tasked with overseeing the committee of convention delegates that irons out a permanent set of rules for the 2016 convention. Those rules must be ratified by the majority of delegates at the convention.  
 
The party's rules currently bind delegates to the results of their state elections on at least the first ballot, a rule that would ensure Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE is named the party's nominee. But there has been repeated speculation that the rules committee could be used to take the nomination from him. 
 
A group of at least 30 delegates has been meeting in the hopes of convincing delegates to vote to unbind delegates and give them the freedom to buck Trump, those involved told The Washington Post Friday. 
 
Mickelsen did not endorse a candidate in the primary, but she's been critical of Trump in recent weeks. 
 
"Neither Hillary or Donald Trump are going to be the people that we point our children toward and say, 'I want you to be just like them when you grow up.' That's not the case in this race, and that's a shame," she told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month. 
 
"What we're left with is deciding how we're going to vote on policy. Who is going to choose who is on the Supreme Court? Who is going to oppose or work with a Republican majority in the House and Senate?"
 
But she also dropped her own potential rules change at the party's spring meeting in April, citing "the supercharged political environment." The decision by Mickelsen and others to abandon any rules changes came after behind-the-scenes pleas from RNC leaders to avoid any action that could look like the party was picking sides in the primary race. 
 
Convention rules chairmen are typically loyal to the party and to the nominee — Mitt Romney ally John Sununu helmed the committee in 2012 and helped push rules changes that pushed unity around Romney, like barring Ron Paul supporters from voting against Romney on the floor because Paul didn't win enough states. 
 
While the rules committee is the most conventional way to change party rules, a group of 23 rules committee members — 20 percent of the total — can force a vote on the floor to change the rules as well. But that would also need to be agreed to by the majority of delegates.