Colorado Republicans Still Uncertain of Trump

Jul 22, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he addresses delegates during the final day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016.
Credit Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Now that Donald Trump is formally the Republican presidential nominee, the question in Colorado is whether his candidacy can bring the party together before November.

Colorado's 37 delegates made waves on Monday when they walked out of the convention hall in protest of the rules. On Tuesday most of them voted for Texas Senator Ted Cruz as the GOP nominee even though he was no longer in the race.

"I was elected as a pledged Cruz delegate so I cast my ballot as promised for Senator Ted Cruz," said Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Despite the turmoil, he said he has personally accepted the outcome.

"There is the next stage in the process. There are some who have a harder time moving forward and that's, I think, often the case. It's never easy if you don't get your top choice," said Williams.

Delegate and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn agrees that it will be difficult for some folks to move forward. Horn is a Cruz supporter, but she did finally cast a vote for Trump.

"You know what, the battle is over, this fight is over. My guy is not in the field in anymore, he's not there anymore. It's voting, but it's not going to get us to the win we need to do. This is now Trump versus Hillary," said Horn.

Horn said her top issue in this campaign is government waste, and making things more efficient. In the coming months, she wants to hear a lot more policy specifics from Trump.

"We're going to have to get past the one sentence sound bites, and definitely need to hear how is this going to work," said Horn. "I'm looking for action items."

She also worries that some Republicans will sit on the sidelines for the presidential race and focus solely on statewide and local contests.

"They're definitely not happy. They keep talking about getting behind what's called the down ticket," said Horn. "Yes it's going to happen, everyone will work on their guy, but we definitely better have the top of the ticket, we better have Trump, too.  We need people to get that vote."

Horn and other Colorado Republicans think Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence helps, as Pence has a strong conservative track record. But former state party chairman Ryan Call says Trump will have to make more effort in places like Colorado if he hopes to win the presidency.

"It's going to require discipline. It's going to require a strong and real campaign organization, and it's going to require him to be willing to be a bit more humble in asking for that vote, not necessarily thinking that he's entitled to it or that he can tweet it in from Trump tower."

Call, who was in Cleveland as an alternate delegate, is still not sure if he'll vote for Trump.  He says he has to feel convinced that Trump could govern in a presidential manner, especially given all the national security threats and ongoing economic problems.

"I think it's an unfortunate reflection of our political process that has resulted in two nominees who are deeply disliked, deeply distrusted," said Call. "More than anything I want to be able to have confidence that I can trust his judgment and that I can have confidence in his character."

During his acceptance speech on Thursday night, Trump touched on everything from building a wall along the border to getting better trade deals, and bringing back middle class jobs. He also said he would restore law and order.  

"I will work with and appoint the best and brightest prosecutors and law enforcement officials to get the job properly done. In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate," said Trump.

Trump ended his nearly hour and a half speech by promising to all Americans that he will make America strong again, proud again, safe again and great again.