(CNN) — Conservatives at a meeting in Washington Thursday had “absolute consensus” on trying to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump from getting enough delegates to clinch the party’s presidential nomination, according to a source familiar with the discussion.
Conservative leader Bob Fischer gathered more than a dozen activists and Republican lawmakers to discuss how to stop Trump from getting their party’s nomination.
The source said the consensus was around preventing Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates, and then stopping him at the convention. The source added that the conservatives are optimistic for this option, adding they believe “it is possible.”
The idea of a third party being formed to combat Trump remained a bone of contention for the group, the source said, adding, there was “real division” over the idea. But there was also discussion that if Trump is the GOP nominee, then “the GOP ceases to be a party for traditional conservatives, who must go elsewhere.” The thought process at this session was to work with “an existing third party instead of trying for ballot access.” That would probably be the existing Libertarian or Constitution parties.
This source said the meeting was made up mostly of “diehards of the conservative movement,” including, “Reagan revolutionaries, if you will.”
Not all the attendees appeared to be giving up on Trump’s existing challengers.
“I’m there to support Ted Cruz,” said Mike Farris, a Republican lawyer, as he left the Army and Navy Club, where the group met behind closed doors for close to three hours. “There’s a lot of Cruz support.”
Rep. Trent Franks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, attended the meeting briefly. So did conservative leader Bill Wichterman.
The event was advertised as a meeting of the group Conservatives of Faith. Erick Erickson, who has floated the idea of a third-party candidate against Trump dialed in to the meeting by phone.
With wins in at least three nominating contests on Tuesday, Trump is the overwhelming front-runner in Republican delegates, though he still faces the possibility of a contested convention this summer, particularly if either of his remaining rivals, Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich, gathers momentum.