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GOP campaigns playing 'defense and offense' with Michigan convention delegates

Apr 11, 2016

Michigan Republicans picked their 59 delegates to the national convention over the weekend. Now, the lobbying begins for their votes.

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

At their state party convention in Lansing, 25 delegates were chosen to represent businessman Donald Trump.  Trump received the most votes in Michigan’s Republican primary.   Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich each received 17 delegates. 

The Trump, Cruz and Kasich delegates are committed to their candidates on the first vote. But after the first vote, they’re up for grabs. And it appears more and more likely that no candidate will have enough votes to win the GOP presidential nomination on the first ballot in Cleveland in July.

Wendy Day is a Cruz supporter and delegate. She says the next few months will be about wooing delegates to vote differently if no candidate wins on the first ballot.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Day said on Saturday. “We want to make sure we build relationships with a lot of those people.”

Day admits it’s not only about winning delegates to your candidate, but keeping your own delegates loyal.

“We’re going to be playing defense and offense,” says Day. 

State Republican Party Chair Ronna Romney-McDaniel will be a Trump delegate to the national convention. Her uncle, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has waged a very public campaign to deny Donald Trump the GOP nomination in 2016. 

Romney-McDaniel says she chose to be a Trump delegate since he won the most votes in the March primary. But her support for Trump is less clear after the first vote.

“I remain committed to the voters of Michigan. We’ll see what happens,” Romney-McDaniel says when asked if she’ll remain committed to Trump after the first round of voting.