Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Anti-Trump GOP delegates organize, claim almost 400 backers; it's a political story for every state

Organizers of Republican convention delegates who want to dump Donald Trump because of "deep-rooted concerns among conservatives" about him say they have attracted nearly 400 delegates to their cause, reports Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post. If that number is anywhere close to real, there's a story to be done in every state about what delegates are in the group and what others think about it. Your state party headquarters has a list of delegates.

Unruh (photo via Ballotpedia)
Kendal Unruh of Castle Rock, Colo., a veteran delegate and co-founder of Free the Delegates, told O'Keefe, “Long-term, this saves the party and we win the election. Everything has to go through birthing pains to birth something great. We’re going to go through the trauma of the birthing pains, but the reward will be worth it.” O'Keefe reports that Unruh says her cause is gaining support from “the non-rabble rousers. The rule-following, churchgoing grandmas who aren’t out protesting in the streets. This is the way they push back.”

O'Keefe reports: "Unruh and other GOP delegates from Colorado hatched the idea of trying to stop Trump by introducing a rule change: Instead of binding delegates to the results of the caucuses and primaries — as many party leaders insist they are — the convention’s 2,472 delegates should instead be able to vote their conscience and select whomever they want. For weeks, Unruh, her colleague Regina Thomson and other Colorado Republicans sought out like-minded delegates in other states. After Unruh appeared in newspaper interviews and called in to a few radio talk shows, she said other delegates with similar concerns in places such as Louisiana and Missouri reached out. By this past weekend, Unruh was consulting a lawyer about possible fundraising plans while Thomson was compiling the list of interested delegates, building a website and booking a conference call phone line that could host 1,000 participants."

Thomson said at least that many participated in the call, during which leaders of the group said "They are not working on behalf of any of Trump's former opponents," O'Keefe reports. "Delegates in several states are under pressure not to join anti-Trump groups. In North Carolina, some have proposed fining delegates or kicking them out of the party if they vote against Trump. In other states, party leaders are threatening to strip delegates of their credentials if they buck primary results and vote against Trump, according to delegates who have contacted The Post. Some reached out on the condition of anonymity, saying that their spouses are fearful of physical threats if they speak out publicly. But several delegates said they were buoyed by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who told NBC’s 'Meet the Press' on Sunday that 'It is not my job to tell delegates what to do, what not to do, or to weigh in on things like that. They write the rules. They make their decisions.'"

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