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Why Some Longtime Texas Republicans Aren't Tempted to Hop On the Trump Bandwagon

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donald Trump has consolidated much of the Republican party behind him since he went from frontrunner to expected nominee. But there are still plenty of Republicans here in Texas who aren't ready to support him.

The best place to find Texas Republicans who aren't too sure about Trump is at the state's GOP convention. Art Martinez De Vara was a delegate to the three-day event last month. On the convention floor he said, just look around and you can see the problems ahead.

“I think you can even look at the number of delegates attending. They announced 3,800. We typically have 8,000. I think that's reflective of a lot of the Cruz supporters feel deflated. Others aren't as enthusiastic as they have been in years past."

And when you talk to different groups within the GOP, you get different reasons they're not willing to support Trump — or at least not willing right now.

Temo Muniz is a national Hispanic activist. He says Trump will have to change his tune if he wants Hispanic votes.

"It's up to Donald if he wants to do it. We're supposed to meet him soon in Houston. I want to know what he's going to do about the 11 million undocumented people here. He wants to deport them. I'm not behind that. My committee isn't behind that. We want to see if he can act Presidential."

While the state GOP has been growing its support within the Hispanic community, it's not a giant slice of the state's Republican Pie. The biggest piece goes to Ted Cruz supporters. They lived and died with the U.S. Senator's run for the White House, and right now they're still in mourning.

“We're not happy right now, but I'm hoping something can change. Whatever it takes to get Cruz in. Or at least get Trump out," said Carl and Connie Weyel from San Antonio. They're lifelong Republicans, which for them makes it very hard to consider Trump as their party's nominee.

"I don't think Trump is a Republican. This is supposed to be the Republican candidate that we’re voting for to go up against Hillary. And I think Hillary and Trump are two of the same kind," the couple said.

That brings us to a final group that could have problems voting for Trump this fall: moderate Republicans. Jennifer Sarver is a longtime Republican activist. She's even helped write speeches at the last few National Republican conventions. But she won't be going to this year's convention in Cleveland.

"Donald Trump is dangerous for America, and I'm an American first, not a Republican first. And I do not want to support someone I think is dangerous for the country," she said. "I have told people for a while now that if it's down to Donald Trump, I'm going to vote for Hillary Clinton."

Sarver said, as a lifelong Republican, she was raised to love Ronald Reagan and hate the Clintons. But, she said, these are desperate times.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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