A movement led by a Colorado Republican delegate to snatch the presidential nomination away from Donald Trump at this week’s national convention has fallen through.
The effort, called Free The Delegates — and also known as Dump Trump or #NeverTrump — centered around a proposal to allow bound delegates to vote their conscience on the first convention ballot. On Thursday evening, it failed to get a majority vote on the 112-member Rules Committee.
Trump himself expressed his appreciation in typical Trump fashion:
#NeverTrump is never more. They were crushed last night in Cleveland at Rules Committee by a vote of 87-12. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
The committee, made up of GOP delegates from around the country, blocked a so-called “conscience clause” proposal by Colorado Republican delegate Kendal Unruh, a suburban mom and teacher at an Englewood Christian school. Unruh had been courting votes and undertaking a coordinated whip effort backed with $3 million, she told The Colorado Independent earlier this week. Two other Colorado delegates, Regina Thomson and Guy Short, also spearheaded the effort.
But an overwhelming majority of Rules Committee members rebuked Unruh’s proposal on a voice vote Thursday, essentially affirming that the controversial billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.
According to The Washington Post, Unruh “was caught off-guard when called on to discuss her amendment and appeared to have misplaced papers she planned to use to help make her case” during the meeting.
The Rules Committee is a panel of convention delegates who set the the rules for the nomination process in Cleveland.
Following the vote to smack down Unruh’s conscience clause rule, Trump’s campaign manager, who briefly attended the Rules Committee meeting, said he never thought the anti-Trump forces had a chance.
Anti-Trump people get crushed at Rules Committee. It was never in doubt: Convention will honor will of people & nominate @realdonaldtrump.
— Paul Manafort (@PaulManafort) July 15, 2016
On Friday, Trump announced his vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
In April, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won all of Colorado’s available delegates at the state Republican Party convention. The Trump campaign had written off The Centennial State, and the candidate later accused state GOP officials of running a “rigged” election.
Trump has since hired Patrick Davis, a big name Republican operative based in Colorado Springs, as his campaign’s state director, and brought on former Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha as a co-chair.
“We’re organizing,” Davis said at a recent GOP event in El Paso County.
Trump won 13 million primary votes — more than any Republican on record — and won Republican primaries in 13 states, dispatching a large field of GOP rivals of every conservative stripe, from establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, libertarian firebrands like Rand Paul, moderates such as Lindsey Graham and outsiders like Ben Carson.
Unruh’s voice mailbox was full on Friday, and she didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail.
“Nothing has changed in our planning phase to unbind the delegates,” Unruh wrote in a Facebook post following the Rules Committee vote. She said she is trying to gather enough delegate signatures for a minority report, which would be presented for a vote at the full convention.
“It’s not a defeat,” Unruh said in her post. “It’s the starting line. Now the delegates themselves will have to take the baton.”
The Republican National Convention begins Monday, July 18, in Cleveland, Ohio.
[Photo credit Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons in Flickr]