- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine Republicans may have favored Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over New York real estate mogul Donald Trump in the state caucuses, but they say they’re focused on standing up to the Republican Party and not rocking the boat for the presumptive nominee.

Maine’s delegation to the Republican National Convention is a varied group that features a lobsterman, a nurse and a financial consultant who largely supported Cruz. Despite their differences, most have slowly come around to the idea of a Trump nomination.

One of them includes Eric Brakey, who at the 2012 Republican National Convention took part in Maine delegates’ failed protest against an RNC decision unseating Maine supporters of Libertarian candidate Ron Paul.

“I think at this point it’s pretty obvious who the nominee is going to be,” he said Monday, adding that he wouldn’t comment on how he feels about voting for Trump.

Lobsterman Billy Bob Faulkingham, of Winter Harbor, is not a fan of Trump, preferring Cruz’s strong conservatism. He senses hesitancy among the delegates about Trump but said he doesn’t see the point of a walkout.

Faulkingham on Tuesday will head to the convention, where several delegates who say they are tired of “strong-armed” party tactics have shaken things up. On Monday, Brakey and others unsuccessfully tried to force a roll call vote on changing party rules.

Brakey said the vote was about taking power away from the party, not about Trump.

Alex Willette, the Republican national committeeman for Maine, is working with Trump’s campaign to ensure proposed rule changes don’t upend Trump’s nomination. He said the media has been fueling speculation of an anti-Trump movement despite polls indicating Republicans are increasingly lining up behind him.

Still, fellow Maine delegate Laura Parker said if there’s an individual roll call vote at the convention, she’d vote for Cruz.

“I did run as a Cruz delegate. I voted for him as a delegate, and Kennebec County went 51 percent for Cruz,” said Parker, of Sidney.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s state-by-state roll call vote for president, Parker signed a petition to nominate Cruz. Parker acknowledged, though, that she didn’t see the petition succeeding and added that she wouldn’t abandon the delegation by joining a walkout.

Maine Rep. Stacey Guerin, elected as a Cruz delegate from Glenburn, warned of potential Supreme Court nominations by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I think that takes away all of the ‘Never Trump’ movement,” she said.

But Parker said the Never Trump movement isn’t over and she believes its success will depend on how many people take their passion to be heard to the end.


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