- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Some of Utah’s 40 delegates to the Republican National Convention are urging the rest of the group to join an effort to oppose Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Conservative activist Gayle Ruzicka sent out an email to delegates last week urging them to reject Trump, citing concerns about his past infidelities and reputation as a womanizing playboy.

“His credentials for leading the free world back to moral, financial and military dominance are ludicrous. Try to imagine him as a diplomat or ambassador for traditional American values,” the email said, according to Deseret News (http://bit.ly/29bVLde).

Ruzicka’s email is part of an effort by Republican activists pushing for GOP rules that allow delegates to support the candidate of their choice instead of Trump, who won more states and votes in primaries and caucuses.

The email echoes arguments from other GOP activists that party delegates are not required to vote for Trump, regardless of how their states voted.

Utah Republican Party Chair James Evans questions that interpretation of rules, but he said he expects the national party’s rules committee to sort out the dispute.

Don Peay, leader of Utahns for Trump, said the email sent to Utah delegates reinforces a national view of the state as a judgmental place.

Utah’s delegates, who include U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert and party activists like Ruzicka, will cast votes at the July GOP convention in Ohio. All 40 Utah delegates must vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the first round of balloting because Cruz won Utah’s presidential caucus in March.

The delegates are then free to vote their choice in any additional rounds of balloting.

Most of Utah’s delegates have already said that for any additional balloting, they plan to vote for Cruz, who ended his campaign in May.

Delegate Boyd Matheson, who is also the president of the conservative Utah think tank Sutherland Institute, said delegates don’t have an alternative candidate to Trump. He said it’s more important for the party to lay out where it stands on issues.

Trump has dismissed efforts attempts to deny him the nomination, noting he will have more than enough support at the convention to win the nomination and control the proceedings.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president. Trump has 1,542 delegates, including 1,447 who are required by party rules to vote for him on the first ballot at the convention, according to the Associated Press count.

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