Could the Republicans nominate someone else?

Seems like a simple question, but none of the Canucks in my office (including me) seem to know the answer. If the Republican party wanted to nominate someone other than Bush to run for president this year, could they do so, or are they stuck with him as their nominee since he’s the incumbent?

Technically they could, if a majority of the delegates at the Republican convention decided to vote for someone else, but that’s not likely to happen.

No one in the party stepped up to challenge Bush’s nomination. I remember an acrimonious exchange back in '76 when Reagan tried to wrest the nomination from Ford. Lots of articles in the press about how he was shattering the GOP…

Not to mention Ted Kennedy in 1980.

Thank you for the answers. I have some Googling to do…

Most of the delegates arriving at the convention will be pledged to vote for Bush on the first ballot. That means that Bush will get the nomination on the first ballot and there won’t be any more balloting. So there practically isn’t any chance that they could nominate someone else. There would have to be some obscure rule or complication to change this (such as Bush’s death or some massive scandal). Even if Bush himself were to withdraw himself from consideration, I think the delegates pledged to him would have to vote for him on the first ballot. Should he then decline the nomination, there would then be another ballot, and the delegates could then vote for someone else.

Note that once the first ballot has been cast, the delegates can vote for anyone, including someone who has not previously expressed interest in becoming president.

A little more info:

You can also look back to '68, when Lyndon Johnson was the incumbent and had been expected to run for reelection; however, he was challenged strongly in the early primaries and decided to bow out of the race early on after realizing that even if he would have been able to capture the nomination, the primary race would be too divisive to allow for success in November. (The Dems lost anyhow.)

There were a few instances in the 19th century (when the selection of delegates was less democratic than it is today) where the nominating conventions failed to renominate their party’s incumbent. 1844 comes to mind, when the Whigs nominated Henry Clay instead of incumbent John Tyler (a VP who’d ascended to the office after William Henry Harrison died a month into his term).