Republican delegates from Colorado in Cleveland on Tuesday widely supported former candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas over Donald Trump for president.
Cruz received 31 votes at the Republican National Convention, to Trump’s four. Two other delegates abstained.
A correction of the vote may be coming, as one delegate says his vote for Trump was confused, and he meant to vote for Cruz. That would bring the total to 32 for Cruz, three for Trump and two abstentions. Shortly after the roll call vote, Trump still officially became the Republican nominee.
The symbolic gesture of principle by Colorado highlighted the Centennial State’s independent spirit, which was thrust into the national spotlight on Monday as Colorado organized a last-ditch coup against Trump.
From Congressional District 3, two delegates supported Cruz, Melanie Sturm and Anita Stapleton. One delegate, Brita Horn, backed Trump.
The delegates were not bound to support Cruz, even though he swept at the April state convention. Because Cruz dropped out of the race in May, Colorado delegates were free to support Trump. But most delegates said they wanted to honor their pledge and vote principle.
“Trump does not represent true Republican values and platform,” said Stapleton, a conservative delegate who recently lost a bid for state school board.
While much of the anger was directed at Trump, some impetus for the revolt came from frustration with the Republican Party.
Colorado delegates on Monday led an effort to amend committee rules so that the convention’s 2,472 delegates would be unbound and free to back a candidate of their “conscience,” even if their state’s primary or caucus supported Trump.
That effort failed, with Republican Party leadership refusing to take a recorded vote on the proposal. Some Colorado delegates staged a brief walkout in protest.
“It wasn’t even about Trump. It was about the rules and how they were just trying to steamroll over their own activists. There’s a lot of disgruntled people,” Sturm said.
“If they really want to win over people like me, who also care about this party, they need to allow our voices to be heard.”
Democrats jumped at the opportunity to portray the GOP as fractured, though Democrats may have their own woes next week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where some Democrats – many from Colorado – remain committed to Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, despite Sanders’ recent endorsement of Clinton.
Colorado Republicans, however, have seemed to struggle more with unity. The state party recently organized a unity tour, but the rebellion in Cleveland might overshadow that. The message sent by the Colorado delegation also does not bode well for Trump, as the swing state of Colorado is critical to his campaign.
“The Colorado GOP is anything but unified right now,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party. “Colorado delegates overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump and sent the undeniable message that Trump does not reflect our values.”
A spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party pointed out that many delegates simply wanted to honor their pledge to Cruz, but that they will ultimately support Trump in an effort to ensure that Clinton does not take the White House.
Horn said she backed Trump because Cruz suspended his campaign, but that she was not enthusiastic about it.
“I shed a tear... a few,” Horn said. “Our general left the field. The fight is over. On to the next battle – Trump versus Hillary.”
Some Republican voters, however, will take more convincing.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Sturm said. “I’ve got some soul searching to do.”