SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Congresswoman Enid Mickelsen will head the powerful rules committee at next month's Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump is set to be formally nominated as the party's presidential candidate.
Mickelsen's appointment by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Friday comes amid renewed talk of delegates looking for a way to block the nomination of the controversial billionaire businessman and reality TV star.
Utah GOP Chairman James Evans said Mickelsen is trusted by Priebus, who has made it clear he expects the party to get behind Trump after his primary election victory.
"She's trusted across the board. You know exactly what you're getting with Enid. She's going to follow the rules and make sure there's no shenanigans, that things will be done fairly," Evans said.
He said that means any effort to use the rules to stop Trump will get a fair hearing, but ultimately fail.
"At the end of the day, Trump is going to be the nominee and everyone has their say," Evans said, describing her role as making sure "whatever proposals come up are handled appropriately. If anyone can handle the rough and tumble, it's Enid."
Mickelsen said she was in meetings Friday and unable to discuss the post. Earlier in the day, she told Politico, "We are going to make this a fair and deliberative process. Nothing’s going to come out of this that’s been done by parliamentary trickery."
She said that her "mindset is that we're going to be fair, that people are going to be able to have an opportunity to make their proposals, debate their proposals or suggestions.”
And Mickelsen said there has "been a lot of speculation, there's been a lot of discussion" about changing the rules to allow delegates pledged to Trump to vote for another candidate. “Will it be lively? It probably will be at times."
Priebus said in a statement that Mickelsen "is a proven leader who brings a track record of excellence and fair-mindedness" to the rules committee for the convention.
She served one term in the U.S. House after being elected in 1994, but ended her campaign for a second term after a financial scandal involving her then-husband, Joe Waldholtz.
Mickelsen has served as Utah's National Committeewoman to the RNC since 2008 and held a number of key posts, including heading up the committee that chose Cleveland to host the July 18-21 convention.
Each state has two seats on the rules committee, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and his wife, Sharon, were elected at the state GOP convention to represent the state. Lee supported his close ally in the Senate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for president.
Cruz overwhelmingly won Utah's presidential preference caucus vote in March and secured all of the state's 40 delegate votes at the national convention. Trump finished a distant third, trailing Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Ron Kaufman, an adviser to the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, was named co-chairman of the convention rules committee. Romney has been one of Trump's biggest critics but Kaufman is supporting him.
Romney told Kaufman and others attending his annual Deer Valley political retreat last weekend that while he would continue to call out Trump for "destructive" comments, he would not campaign against him.