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Local delegates discuss Trump, Republican Party unity on night of expected nomination

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    KRISTIN BAUER | GAZETTE Delegates' votes pushed Donald Trump "Over The Top" for votes on Tuesday evening, July 19.


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    Larry Obhof


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    Nancy Abbott



All 66 of Ohio’s delegates cast their vote for Gov. John Kasich Tuesday night during the first ballot roll call of nominees for president at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The move came as no surprise to delegate Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, and alternate delegate Nancy Abbott, the former Medina County Republican Party chair.

“I assume that tonight will be a very good night for (Donald Trump),” Abbott said hours before the Tuesday session began.

In total, 120 delegates cast their vote for Kasich — far less than the 1,725 votes Trump received in securing the Republican Party’s nomination for president on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Ohio delegates were bound to Kasich by the rules of the convention. That’s because the governor won 46.8 percent of the popular vote during Ohio’s March primary — 10 percent more than runner-up Trump.

There had been an attempt by delegates who hoped to deny Trump the nomination to unbind them from their pledges on the first ballot. However, that effort failed during the first day of the convention Monday.

Abbott saw that brief outburst on the convention floor as the dying breath of the movement that had been labeled NeverTrump.

“That was the last attempt. … It was a little bit of the protest and we’re in the United States. We’re allowed to protest,” she said.

Abbott said she will support Trump as the Republican candidate.

“We all have one goal in mind: to unify the party and win the election in November,” she said.

But Obhof said he believes it’s too early to tell whether the party will coalesce behind the New York businessman who swept to the required number of delegates during the primary election season in the first half of the year, defeating a field of 17 candidates.

“That depends on the candidate (and) on what he does in the next 90 days,” Obhof said.

Obhof said the comments made by Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, about Kasich do not look like a step in toward unification. Manafort told the New York Times and other media sources on Monday that Kasich was “embarrassing his party in Ohio” by not endorsing Trump.

Obhof said he also was disappointed by the outcome of the attempt to unbind delegates Monday. Delegates in favor of unbinding demanded a roll-call vote instead of an oral vote on several convention rules, which might have created a pathway to block Trump’s nomination.

“I think most of the Ohio delegates were hoping for a roll-call vote,” he said.

Ohio was not one of the reported nine states — which later dropped to six — that requested a roll-call vote.

Obhof said if a substantial number of delegates wanted a roll-call vote, then it should have taken place.

Hours before Tuesday’s nomination vote, Obhof and Abbott attended a party for Kasich at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Abbott described the party as a “thank you” to many of Kasich’s supporters who had worked for him during the primary election season.

“It’s going to be a bittersweet event,” she said Tuesday before the party.

Sharon Ray, a member of the Medina County Board of Elections, also attended the Kasich event. She said in an email to The Gazette that the party was “standing room only.”

Looking ahead to the November election, Obhof said he is hoping for a candidate who will strengthen the economy and institute similar reforms that Kasich has tried to implement in Ohio. Obhof said less bureaucratic regulation and lower taxes are the paths to a stronger economy, he said.

“The path forward to get the economy as good as possible is clear,” he said. “The Obama administration has far more regulation than it should.”

Obhof called for a greater emphasis on free-trade and building the economy, which has been downplayed so far during this election cycle, he said.

“I think that’s a move in the wrong direction,” Obhof said.

The party’s platform, addressed during Monday’s first session of the convention, needs to be not only discussed but enacted, he said.

“It’s one thing to say here’s what we stand for and it’s another to do it,” he said.

Obhof said he plans to watch Trump during the convention and the coming months.

“Is this person going to write the right policies?” he asked.

“We’ll see how things go and what Trump has to say.”

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