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Some Bexar Delegates To National Convention Hope To Block Trump's Nomination

Shelley Kofler
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County GOP Delegate Grant Moody is part of a coalition trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the Party's nominee.

A Bexar County delegate headed to the Republican National Convention has joined a coalition trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming the GOP nominee, and he claims a majority of Bexar County delegates also support that effort. 

In March the greatest number of Republican primary voters in Texas cast ballots for their junior senator, Ted Cruz, earning Cruz 104 Texas delegates compared to Donald Trump's 48. 

Texas' Republican Party requires its delegates to the national convention to vote for the candidates in that proportion for at least two rounds of balloting.  Under rules followed by recent conventions Trump is expected to clinch the Party nomination in just one round.

But 36-year old San Antonio business executive Grant Moody has joined a movement to change the convention rules.  It's called "Free the Delegates."

"I think that there are a lot of delegates to the convention who given the chance would choose an alternative nominee," explained Moody, a delegate who says he will never cast a ballot for Trump.

The "Free the Delegates" effort hopes to convince a majority on the convention's rules committee to allow delegates to vote their conscience instead of being bound by state Party rules. Moody claims a majority of Bexar County's 10 Republican delegates also support what he calls a "conscience vote."

Credit Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Lisa Nilssin is a Bexar County alternate delegate to the national GOP convention. She backs the Free the Delegates movement.

Lisa ​Nilsson, one of Bexar County's alternate delegates, says that's only fair.

"I really do believe it's fair and right for those at the Republican Convention to have that responsibility (to personally choose the nominee), because we're the ones who've stood up and got involved and care," she said. 

"We're the ones who are paying attention.  We're not the ones who bite on one simple slogan and just sort of run like chickens with our heads cut off over the latest fad."

Nilsson, who supported Cruz, says Trump doesn't represent conservative values.  She believes he's just the latest reality star voters have identified with.

"I look at him and his family and I think they're the Kardashians.

They're not the people I live next door to."

Moody, who favored Marco Rubio, then Cruz, isn't saying who he'd now like to see at the head of the ticket. He says he wants to dump Trump because he doesn't think the billionaire can beat Hillary Clinton.

"Every week we get something new from his Twitter feed that in the words of Paul Ryan are the textbook definition of racism or bigotry. Or his latest tweet which was the photo that some have described as anti-Semitic.

It speaks to his character, his temperament, his judgment," says Moody.

Bexar County delegate Ginny Shannon also started out backing Rubio.  But she says she's now all in for Trump. She thinks his comments are often misinterpreted.

"He's not a racist.  And when he talks about building a wall he wants to build a wall because he wants to keep out the bad people not the good people."

Shelley Kofler
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Republican Party Chair Robert Stovall says he didn't originally support Donald Trump, but he does now.

Bexar County Republican Chairman Robert Stovall says he's also decided to back Trump, his fourth choice after Scott Walker, Rubio and Cruz. 

"I absolutely do support Donald Trump.   He's employed tens of thousands of people," says Stovall.

Stovall says he doesn't know if Moody is right, that most of the county's delegation wants a rules change that would allow them to vote for a nominee based on personal preference. But Stovall doesn't believe "Free the Delegates" will change the outcome.  He expects Trump to easily win the nomination in Cleveland week after next.

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.