Meet the woman who could take down Donald Trump

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Energy builds for idea to reject Trump at RNC

CLEVELAND — Kendal Unruh is trying to do what 16 Republican presidential candidates and at least three super PACs spending more than $20 million could not do: take down Donald Trump.

She's not wealthy but she is principled and has proven some political savviness. She's a delegate on the powerful 112-member Rules Committee of the Republican National Convention that dictates how delegates choose the GOP nominee at the convention.

RELATED: Kendal Unruh through the years

9 PHOTOS
GOP delegate Kendal Unruh
See Gallery
GOP delegate Kendal Unruh
AURORA, CO - JULY 7: Colorado GOP delegates Kendal Unruh and Regina Thomson listen to a meeting regarding the Republican National Convention via conference call on July 7, 2016. (Photo by Michael Reaves/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 7: Colorado GOP delegate Kendal Unruh is photographed on July 7, 2016. (Photo by Michael Reaves/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 7: Colorado GOP delegate Kendal Unruh is photographed on July 7, 2016. (Photo by Michael Reaves/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 7: Colorado GOP delegates Kendal Unruh and Regina Thomson listen to a meeting regarding the Republican National Convention via conference call on July 7, 2016. (Photo by Michael Reaves/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(AC) ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -SEPTEMBER 1ST--2008--Colorado Delegate, Kendal Unruh, from Castle Rock Colorado, sports several buttons on her hat on the first day of the 2008 Republican National Convention at the Excel Energy Center Monday afternoon. THE DENVER POST/ ANDY CROSS (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AUGUST 31, 2004--Delegates Syl Morgan-Smith of Lakewood, left, and Kendal Unruh of Castle Rock cheer on speaker Steven McDonald on the second day of the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday. (DENVER POST PHOTO BY GLENN ASAKAWA) (Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
08_04_04_GOLDEN, CO--Vice President Dick Cheney made a second visit to Colorado in one week. After visiting Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs on Monday, the VP made a campaign stop at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden. ABOVE: Kendal Unruh of Castle Rock , a member of CItizens for a Responsible Governtment, will be a Colorado delagate at the Republican National Convention representing a pro-life and pro-family slate. She is a facilitator and organizer for the pro-life slate. She attended the Cheney rally with her two children Cassie right, 5 and Dominic 9 , left. PHOTO BY HELEN H. RICHARDSON (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Delegate Kendal Unruh, of Castle Rock, Colo., shows her support for Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Her test begins Thursday when the committee meets to determine the rules governing Trump's convention.

She's a high school teacher at a Denver Christian school and a conservative activist.

In the span of one month, she has built an organization, has attracted the support of donors and has raised $3.5 million for the effort. National and international media is demanding her attention as she's the anti-Trump Republicans' last stand.

Unruh, like all Colorado delegates, were supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primary and her opposition to Trump is fueling her effort.

More from NBC News: Stop Trump Effort Short on Votes But in Striking Distance

She and her newly-formed group, Free the Delegates, teamed up with another group, Delegates Unbound, which is more focused on convention rules in general, regardless of who the nominee is. But this year, their agendas align. The two groups have pooled resources and rented offices in downtown Cleveland to create a space where volunteers and paid staff will strategize and organize just blocks from the convention center where Rules Committee members will meet.

Fellow Colorado delegate, State Rep. Justin Everett, said he's known Unruh since 2004 the first time he ran for national delegate.

Everett said he admires what she's doing and called her "principled" and "a fighter."

A delegate on the rules committee who is sympathetic to Unruh's efforts said, "I think she does a pretty good job of organizing on a grassroots perspective."

More from NBC News: RNC Rules Committee to Take Center Stage in Cleveland

But Unruh's challenge is large.

She is attempting to convince Rules Committee members that they are not required to vote the candidate for whom they are bound to based on the results of the primary. Her so-called conscience clause is unlikely to receive the support of a majority of the delegates.

GOP delegate: Systemic problems in Trump campaign

If she fails, her back-up plan is to convince 28 members of the Rules Committee — one-fourth of the 112 in attendance — to sign what's called a "minority report." If she achieves that threshold, she can be recognized on the floor of the full convention next week and give Trump opponents an opportunity to cast their vote for another candidate.

But her biggest downfall is her lack of a plan for what happens if her effort succeeds. While supporters are united against Trump, they are divided about who an alternative should be. After one of the group's conference calls to give supporters an update on strategy, many attendees stayed on the line to discuss who could be the replacement nominee. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Cruz are among the names mentioned.

One member of the rules committee was skeptical about her power and ability to persuade members on the committee as many of them are party loyalists and others are unwilling to upset decorum.

"If it Senator Mike Lee was leading this effort and not a school teacher from Colorado," Trump's nomination could be at more risk he said, referring to the senator of Utah who also sits on the rules committee.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners