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*-- Former anti-Trump GOP group to focus on down-ballot races --*

WASHINGTON - Our Principles PAC, the Republican group created to try to deny Donald Trump the party's nomination, will now shift its focus to defending down-ballot races in the wake of Trump all-but-securing the GOP nod.

It was unclear how the group, and other anti-Trump forces in the party, would proceed once his two remaining rivals for the nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, dropped out of the race this week.

Ken Blackwell, a spokesman for Our Principles, told MSNBC on Saturday the group would shift its focus to assisting Republicans in difficult down-ballot races in the event Trump's presence at the top of the ticket makes matters more challenging.

"Our Principles are looking at down-ballot protection," Blackwell said. "The reality is, the Trump forces better not get so braggadocios, so inside of themselves they lose this fight."

Additionally, Blackwell praised House Speaker Paul Ryan for thus far refusing to endorse Trump, saying it is important for prominent Republicans to be sure of Trump's motivations before they lend their support.

"The question is, will, in fact, Donald Trump, choose to unify the Republican Party, or will he in fact choose to redefine the Republican Party into something other than it has been," Blackwell said. "Is this about unifying the party or are you trying to redefine the party? And if you want to try to redefine the party, you in fact have shown a side of you that is disconcerting."


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