The Republican National Committee is free to announce a presumed nominee at any time; no regulation prohibits this. This kind of action has been done before. After the Indiana primary in 2016, then-RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that Trump was the presumed nominee.
However, this was in May, and for three months before to that, Trump had been in a three-month stalemate with Ted Cruz of Texas, who had won first in the leadoff Iowa caucuses and second to Trump.
After a candidate has secured the necessary number of delegates to secure a majority vote at the national party conventions this summer, the Associated Press will only use the phrase.
Once further states have cast their ballots, then we will reach that stage. The earliest that may happen is in March for both Republicans and Democrats.
Last week, Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, implied that Haley had little chance of receiving the nomination because Trump had received more votes in the New Hampshire primary on January 23 and the Iowa caucuses on January 15.
"We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump, and we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden," McDaniel said in a Fox News interview the night before the New Hampshire primary.
If you're going to go and basically tell the American people that you're going to go and decide who the nominee is after only two states have voted," Haley said during Sunday's interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" during which she said the RNC was "clearly not" an honest broker.
She made it clear that the American people sought a voice in the nomination process. We should provide them with it. Actually, it's not feasible to achieve that with only two states.
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