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Kentucky Delegates Headed to RNC Unite Behind Trump

Flickr/Creative Commons/Tom LeGro

Forty-six delegates and 43 alternate delegates from Kentucky will be among the crowd at next week’s Republican national convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump is expected to formally accept the GOP nomination for president at the event.

The real estate mogul Trump won 79 of Kentucky’s 120 counties when state Republicans held their presidential caucus in March, but like elsewhere around the country, not every Kentuckian is enthusiastically supporting Trump.  Owensboro businessman J. Todd Inman is going to the convention as a delegate from Kentucky.

“Donald Trump will be the nominee," stated Inman.  "The question is what’s the process to get to that ultimately.”

Inman says Trump wasn’t his first choice, or his second for that matter, but his allegiance now stands with the billionaire businessman.

“That’s our Republican nominee.  Reagan is often quoted as saying a friend of mine 80 percent of the time does not make him an enemy 20 percent," Inman said.  "I may not agree with every position, I may not agree with some of his tactics and the thoughts, but the alternative is not exactly palatable to what I see as America going forward.”

Another delegate to the RNC is Laura Larue of Hardin County who was also a delegate to the 2012 convention.  Larue says Trump was not her preferred candidate, but in her words, he’s not Hillary Clinton.

“I mean that’s the way the process works," she said.  "I wasn’t a Mitt Romney person until the convention four years ago, but I came around."

Republicans opposed to Trump will make their final stand at their national convention next week.  Trump won 38 states and has hundreds more than the 1,237 delegates required for the nomination, but behind the scenes, an effort is underway to throw open the GOP contest again.  Inman doesn’t see that happening.

“The people have voted," remarked Inman.  "We had an election, and elections have consequences and they should be valid unless you find out something was improper.”

Trump foes want party leaders to release the delegates to vote for whomever they want, not necessarily the candidate who won their primary or caucus.  Dr. Scott Lasley is a political science professor at Western Kentucky University.  He also chairs the Warren County Republican Party.  He thinks Trump opponents will make some noise, but he doesn’t expect the rules to be changed.

“Those are the rules people played by going into the process, and Trump won according to the rules.  Not only is there a philosophical argument for Trump, but from a practical standpoint, changing the rules is not an easy thing to do.”

He says the last serious effort to free the delegates and open up the convention was in 1980.  Otherwise, the conventions are pretty cut and dry, and Lasley expects nothing different this election year.

Scott 1,2…. “There’s nobody to go to.  Where does that get you," asked Lasley.  "If there was a white knight, an obvious choice to unify the party, that would make things a lot different.  Paul Ryan’s not that.  Ted Cruz or anyone else who ran in the nomination process doesn’t fit the bill.  It’s just not a realistic option.”

Owensboro delegate J. Todd Inman says while he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Trump, he’ll still cheer when he receives the GOP presidential nomination. Inman expects Trump to bring new energy to the convention, which he has already brought to the Republican Party.

“You have record voter turnouts in some areas.  You have a different level of engagement," commented Inman.  "The greatest thing is that people are actively involved in this campaign and they may be for or against, but regardless they’re paying much more attention, and I think that’s good for democracy.”

Just a few days after the Republicans head back home, Democrats will kick off their nominating convention in Philadelphia on July 25.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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