While Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump continues to publicly dismiss talk of a contested convention, he's been quietly assembling a team of seasoned operatives to manage the possible battle, NBC News has learned.
The campaign's strategy is to convert delegates in the crucial 40 days between the end of the primaries and the convention — while girding for a floor fight in Cleveland if necessary. The outreach is already underway.
"We are talking to tons of delegates," said Barry Bennett, a former Ben Carson campaign manager now leading the delegate strategy for Trump.
Under Republican Party rules, a candidate who wins a majority of 1,237 delegates during the primaries clinches the presidential nomination. If no candidate wins that majority, delegates vote on the nominee at an open convention. Bennett said the campaign has planned two distinct phases for winning in an open convention.