- Associated Press - Saturday, April 9, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan’s role in picking the next GOP nominee at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer is set with more national delegates pledged to vote for businessman Donald Trump because he won the primary in the state last month.

Hundreds of Republicans gathered Friday and Saturday in Lansing to pick Michigan’s national delegates to represent the state’s Republicans at the convention.

Twenty-five of Michigan’s 59 delegates pledged to vote for Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner, while 17 will vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 17 for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the first round of voting. But if no candidate receives enough initial support at the national convention, the party will stage a second round of voting in which Michigan’s delegates would no longer be bound to vote as they did at first.

Some political experts say that could be dangerous for Republicans if Democrats settle on their nominee before the GOP does and have more time to campaign and raise money.

“Coming out of the convention you’ve got to raise a tremendous amount of money to campaign and it’s pretty tough to raise money if you’re not the confirmed candidate,” said John Truscott, a former state delegate who now has the public relations firm Truscott Rossman.



Republican political strategist Stu Sandler said he thinks a contested convention could be more likely after Trump’s recent loss in Wisconsin, too.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder repeated his call for a Republican presidential nominee that has worked as a state governor, and only Kasich fits that description. That’s despite Trump’s earlier big Michigan win, though Snyder said he won’t be a national delegate this year.

Snyder said “having a governor’s background is one of the best backgrounds you could have to be a candidate.” He added that he thinks the state GOP convention shows that despite differences in candidate support, the party wants “to work together” to get a Republican elected to the White House.

Michigan Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter said he’s committed to Cruz. Cotter is as an alternate delegate who would vote in Cleveland if the national delegate he’s meant to replace if needed couldn’t attend.

Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, said she’s committed to Trump for the first round. She said she wouldn’t speculate “on hypotheticals” about whether she’d change her vote if Trump didn’t get enough delegate support this summer. She also wouldn’t say who her second pick might be if it came down to it.

“I remain committed to voters of Michigan,” McDaniel said.

Other supporters of Trump at the convention repeated familiar reasons for liking him: They say they think he’s honest, that he “can’t be bought” because he’s already rich.

One Republican at the convention who runs a popular hot dog stand by the Michigan Capitol building on weekdays said he likes Trump because “he’s untraditional.”

“He sets out to let people know that, ‘Look, I’m not fully a politician, but I know what’s going on,’” Clinton Tarver said.

Tarver, who is black, said he wasn’t concerned when Trump at first declined to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke because Trump just didn’t “want to get involved.” Tarver said he doesn’t think Trump is racist.

He said he’d consider voting for Cruz if Trump didn’t win the nomination.

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