Michigan delegation appears unified in support of Trump despite roll call confusion

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 10:25pm

CLEVELAND — The Michigan delegation presented a united front behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump despite brief confusion during roll call, in which Michigan abstained from the vote Tuesday at the Republican National Convention. 

Trump won the Michigan state primary in March, garnering significant support in rural areas of the state — such as the Upper Peninsula — while, in Washtenaw County, the majority of voters supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a candidate who has yet to endorse Trump.

According to delegate Tim Brown, Michigan passed during its roll call turn — based on a calculated request by the New York delegation — so that Michigan could be the state to allow Trump to clinch the 1,237 delegates needed for the official nomination. New York ultimately passed as well and voted later for Donald Trump Jr. to announce the delegates needed for his father to win on behalf of the state.

“They were doing the math, and they wanted New York to be the state to push him over the top to get the amount of delegates he needed,” Brown said. “We abstained, and, as it went on, they realized they still had enough. They were going to do that to a couple of other states too.”

Confusion over Michigan’s pass echoed across the floor as rumors spread on social media concerning the state’s motivations. Many believed it was attempting to help New York, but others questioned the unity of the delegates.

Confusion persisted even on the floor itself as the same theories circulated. Joseph Thorrez, guest of the delegation, told The Daily he believed the issue was a lack of consensus among delegates.

“They wanted to get all of the votes corrected,” he said. “Another ballot was cast to all the delegates, and they had a recount.”

Thorrez was later corrected by John Taylor, delegate and chairman of the Washtenaw Republican Party, who confirmed the maneuver was an attempt to help New York.

Despite the confusion, the various members of the Michigan delegation reaffirmed the state’s support of the Republican nominee, as 51 of 59 ultimately voted for Trump.

Taylor said that, despite his commitment as a delegate to Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas), he will work to unify Washtenaw County around the Republican nominee.

“He was not my first choice,” he said. “But of course we will get behind our nominee.”

Brown said Michigan delegates all feel the need to unify around Trump as the nominee.

“The delegates of Michigan have come to realize we can’t play around anymore,” he said. “We have to be united. I think there were six for Cruz and two for Kasich, but at this point it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Michigan delegation confusion came in wake chaos that erupted Monday on the convention floor over a movement by members of the “Never Trump” movement who tried to force a roll call vote. The motion ultimately failed by a controversial decision by deputy chair Steve Womack, who was presiding over the voice vote.

Michigan delegate Debra Mantey said she believes the “Never Trump” movement is composed of a set of delegates who are not loyal to their voters.

“I don’t think much of it, obviously,” she said. “I think it was more of a media distraction. There wasn’t enough of a faction of them to really do anything, and I think it’s pretty sad, really. These are delegates who have been entrusted by the people who have put them here to follow the will of the people.”

Michigan delegates also seemed confident in Trump’s ability to convert the traditionally blue state into a red one come November.

John Haggard, Michigan delegate in the first district, said support for Trump will spread throughout the state so that Michigan votes Republican in November.

“Michigan will be red in the fall,” he said. “Donald Trump is going to turn the state of Michigan red, and it’s going to start from us in the Upper Peninsula all the way down. It’s going to be like cancer, and we are going to spread it fast.”