Many Texas Republicans Not Embracing Trump
The theme of the Texas GOP Convention, which ended Saturday in Dallas, was “Unite to Win.” But loyal Republicans gathered there didn’t appear to be ready to unite behind the anticipated party nominee, Donald Trump. It’s another sign of how fractured the party is in Texas and beyond.
In the Texas GOP Presidential Primary this past March, 44 percent voted for Texas’ Junior Senator Ted Cruz. Donald Trump captured just 27 percent of the vote.
Republican Patrick DiGiacomo of Garland said he supported Cruz because of what he stands for and he isn’t willing to shift support to Trump for the sake of party unity. With Cruz out of the race, DiGiacomo said he’s trying to talk fellow Republicans into voting for a third party candidate instead of “The Donald.”
“I have principles and the problem is I don’t believe the man has principles because he’ll say anything because he doesn’t believe in anything except for himself," DiGiacomo said.
If unifying behind Trump was a convention goal, the now chastened Cruz did little to help. During his convention speech, he chose not to endorse his former opponent. “For those who are discouraged, truth will prevail," Cruz said. Instead Cruz talked about returning to the U.S. Senate.
“What I want to say to each of you is, I want to encourage each of you to have hope. I don’t know what the future will hold. I’ll tell you where I intend to focus my energy, every one of the principles we fought for in the presidential campaign, I intend to fight for every one of those principles in the United States Senate," Cruz told convention delegates.
With Cruz out of the presidential picture, Georgetown Republican delegate Kathy Cody says she's struggling. She isn’t sure she can support Trump. She disliked Trump's claim that as president he would make abortion illegal and punish women that had them.
“That is so personal, it is hard for me to tell someone else what to do, because you just don’t know the situation, you don’t know what’s going on," Cody explained.
Vlad Davidiuk is a GOP delegate from Houston who said Trump does not seem to represent the values of Texas Republicans. Davidiuk said Trump’s name at the top of the party ticket may also hurt down ballot Republicans in November.
"It’s disheartening to see a lot of these delegates knowing that their effort could be put to good use if a candidate had been selected to support those conservative principles and values, but I suspect a lot of people will be willing to do everything they can at the state and local level and look at the top of the ticket as possibly a write-off," Davidiuk said.
Former state GOP chairman Steve Munisteri, who is now working for the Republican National Convention, is a bit more optimistic about the party uniting behind Trump.
Munisteri said, “Talking with Cruz supporters, a lot of them are still getting over that he got out and got out sooner than they expected, you know when the campaign ends it’s pretty dramatic."
But here’s one sign that Trump hasn’t caught on in the Lone Star State. The state party says over 2,000 Cruz delegates who registered for the state convention months ago canceled their reservations after Cruz suspended his presidential campaign. And the early clamoring among Republicans to attend the national convention has evaporated.