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Republicans have been implicated in a third-party plot to take down Donald Trump.

Angelo Merendino / Getty

Hours before polls closed in the five crucial primary states that vote on March 15, Politico reported that three leading conservatives were planning a meeting to discuss how to run a third party candidate to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the only conservative challenging the Democratic nominee in the general election.

The three men have deep contacts in both the grassroots and establishment wings of the Republican Party. Bill Wichterman acted as the primary liaison between George W. Bush and the conservative movement. South Dakota businessman Bob Fischer has recently convened a meeting with leading evangelical activists. Activist Erick Erickson has a large following through his conservative blog  

While Republicans have long been trying to take Trump down, most recently with their calls for a brokered convention, this is one of the first times we have heard a third party candidacy floated as a serious option.

Whether or not it’ll happen remains to be seen. Running another conservative in the general election would likely ensure that the Democratic nominee gets elected—not to mention create a lasting schism in the Republican Party. But if Trump sweeps the crucial Republican primaries in Ohio and Florida on Tuesday night, conservatives may just be desperate enough to consider it.