The final slate of Tennessee delegates for the 2016 Republican National Convention was approved Saturday, following accusations from the Donald Trump campaign in Tennessee that the state GOP was trying to "steal" delegates from the Republican front-runner.
Each candidate's delegate totals would become critical if Trump doesn't get the 1,237 delegates needed to clench the nomination outright, and the Republicans head toward a contested convention.
The final slate from Tennessee included 33 delegates for Donald Trump, 16 delegates for Ted Cruz, and 9 delegates for Marco Rubio -- a total of 58 delegates.
Of those 58 delegates, 14 are so-called at-large delegates, awarded to Tennessee by the Republican National Committee. The people who fill those spots on the convention floor are appointed by the Tennessee GOP, in contrast to the delegates who were selected by Tennessee voters during the presidential primary in March.
It was an argument over who should fill those 14 appointed spots that angered the Trump campaign and the candidate’s supporters in Nashville Saturday. Dozens of Trump supporters gathered in protest outside the Tennessee GOP meeting room Saturday morning, across the street from the party headquarters in Hillsboro Village.
Trump’s Tennessee campaign Director Darren Morris said the Tennessee Republican Party had gone back on an agreement reached earlier this week, naming seven people – Trump’s share of the 14 appointed spots – to the state’s delegation to the convention.
Morris said the list of at-large Trump delegates that was eventually approved by state Republicans Saturday contains the names of at least two people who may not be supportive of Trump, given past social media posts the two have made.
Keith Washington, a volunteer ground coordinator for Trump’s Tennessee campaign said the names of those two delegates were Melissa Gay and Ken Gross, and he provided NewsChannel 5 with apparent screenshots of the social media posts.
While all of Tennessee’s delegates to the Republican National Convention are required to vote for the candidate they’re tied to during the first two ballots at the convention, if a candidate -- presumably Trump -- fails to achieve a majority of 1,237 delegates, they are allowed to vote for any candidate they want.
Trump supporters fear that some of the at-large delegates apportioned to Trump are likely to switch their vote to a different candidate as soon as they’re able.
“There's a lot of really good people in our state that would love to be statewide delegates for Trump who have worked for months to help him,” said Lou Ann Zelenik, a Trump supporter who was camped outside during the Tennessee GOP meeting Saturday.
The State GOP responded Saturday saying they're trying to select delegates who represent the conservative values of Tennesseans.
“In no way did we take delegates,” said Ryan Haynes, the Tennessee GOP Chairman.
“Donald Trump has 33 delegates yesterday, he has 33 delegates today and he’ll have 33 delegates tomorrow and going into the convention.”
“Unfortunately, not everybody can get everything that they want,” Haynes said. “Senator Cruz’s campaign did not get everything they want, Donald Trump’s campaign did not get everything they want.”
"We made accommodations for each of the campaigns," said Tennessee Republican Party spokesperson Brent Leatherwood. "They all got some delegates they wanted, and we built a slate that we think is a really good compromise. The 40 votes supporting it prove that it is."
Saturday morning, in response to the State GOP’s meeting, and frustration over the possible Tennessee Republican Party delegate picks, Donald Trump’s national social media director Tweeted out the cell phone number of the Tennessee GOP's chairman Ryan Haynes, who said his phone was ringing nonstop.
“I think it’s a shame that people would take our private cell phone…and tweet that all across the country, so we’re a little disappointed in that,” Haynes said.
The Republican National Convention has been set for this summer in Cleveland, Ohio.
The entire slate of Tennessee delegates to the convention can be found online by clicking here .