‘Never Trump’ forces flame out at state GOP meetings

Donald Trump. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The infighting over Donald Trump at state-level Republican party meetings has given way to calls for party unity, as nearly a dozen GOP conventions around the nation rallied around the party’s presumptive nominee.

Gone was the infighting between supporters of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – both now out of the race – who once hoped to force a delegate-by-delegate battle in Cleveland. Cruz’s forces won that battle in district-level conventions in Georgia and elsewhere, but lost the war.

The gatherings in 11 states offered a likely preview of next month’s Georgia Republican convention, when party activists will gather in Augusta to select the remaining 31 delegates to head to Cleveland.

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Across the country, party leaders encouraged, coaxed and even browbeat their rank and file into a message of unity. And they did it by way of a consistent message: Trump is flawed, but Hillary Clinton would be far, far worse.

Oklahoma and Montana conventions shared a common mantra: “United We Stand.” In Montana, walls of posters interspersing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” signs with campaign posters for Congressman Ryan Zinke and gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte reinforced the theme. In Wisconsin, local reports indicated that even former Trump critics were nudging their allies into backing the mogul.

That message carried over into the selection of delegates to the national convention. In all, nearly 400 were picked on Saturday at these 11 party meetings — about one in every six that will fill seats in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena in July.

More: A closer look at the Georgia Republicans headed to Cleveland

More: Clinton vs. Trump a tossup in Georgia between unpopular candidates

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