Delegates from Maine were among those from three states to change their minds about seeking what would have been a disruptive roll-call vote Monday over the rules at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Donald Trump is expected to be endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate Thursday.

A majority of delegates from nine states had signed petitions requesting the rules vote, which could have fueled the anti-Trump movement at the convention. At least 12 of Maine’s 23 delegates initially signed the petition. It is unclear how many changed their minds.

Alex Willette, a Maine delegate from Lewiston and member of the Republican National Committee convention rules panel, said some Maine delegates who initially signed the petition later withdrew when they realized a roll-call vote on the rules likely would have failed. Willette, a Trump supporter, did not sign the petition.

“When everything was considered there was not a majority of delegates from Maine who had signed the petition – initially it looked like there was going to be, but ultimately that wasn’t the case,” Willette said.

In what he called a “misinformation” campaign by delegates working against Trump’s nomination, some delegates were led to believe the roll-call vote could have led to Trump losing the nomination, Willette said.

Some Maine delegates were under the impression that had the current rules been voted down, the 2012 convention rules would have been back in effect, leaving all delegates free to vote for the candidate of their choice. Under the current rules, the delegates are bound by the results of their state caucuses or primaries.


Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Trump in Maine but by less than 50 percent of the vote, so each candidate was awarded a proportionate number of Maine’s 23 delegates. Cruz will get 12 votes from Maine, Trump will receive 9 and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be awarded two.

But Willette said even if the rules vote had prevailed, it would not have derailed Trump’s nomination. Rather than reverting to the 2012 version, the rules would have been sent back to the rules committee for reconsideration.

Trump’s overwhelming victories in other states ensures he will get the vast majority of the delegate votes in Cleveland and more than enough to be the party’s nominee.

“The overwhelming majority of the delegates here at the convention are excited about being here, they are excited about the opportunity to support Mr. Trump this November and defeat Hillary Clinton,” Willette said. “It’s unfortunate that a few bad apples are trying to disrupt the convention, but it is what it is, they were all elected and obviously I support their right to have their voice heard as well.”

Garrett Mason, Maine Senate majority leader, a delegate and Cruz supporter, said he did not sign the petition for a roll call vote. He said he didn’t know which Maine delegates had signed, but said enough backed off to leave Maine with no role in the rules fight Monday.

“I still firmly believe that Ted Cruz was the right man for the job, I wish the rest of the U.S. would have chosen him as the nominee but the fact is he lost the game fair and square,” Mason said. He said he intends to make sure Maine’s delegation casts its votes as intended and will support Trump and work “as hard as I can for him to see he wins Maine’s four Electoral College votes in November.”

Maine delegate Eric Brakey, a state senator from Auburn, said he signed the petition for a roll-call vote on the rules and kept his name on the petition, but that it had nothing to do with trying to unseat Trump. Brakey was among the group of Maine delegates who walked out of the convention in Miami amid a disagreement over the rules.

“This is about the process and the fight on the rules has been going on for the last four years at least, this has been going on since even before Donald Trump was ever a candidate,” Brakey said. “This is about whether the power in the Republican Party is going to rest in the grassroots or in the RNC establishment. The vote was not a vote for or against Donald Trump, it was about what rules we are going to live under for the next four years.”


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