- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

For Republicans who disavowed Donald Trump’s candidacy, the final day of the 2016 general election closed out in much the same way the race started: with them unable to stomach the idea of casting a vote for either Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton.

So some holdouts turned back the clock by casting ballots for Mitt Romney and John McCain, the party’s 2008 and 2012 nominees. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan received votes, as did GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence; Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and independent presidential candidate; and David Petraeus, the four-star Army general and former director of the CIA.

It marked the first time since 1968 that Linda Chavez, who served in the Reagan administration, voted for someone other than the GOP presidential nominee.

“I just voted for the next Republican President. Marco Rubio. Sorry Evan McMullin, this #NeverTrumper looks to 2020,” Ms. Chavez wrote on Twitter, after explaining in an op-ed that appeared in The Hill newspaper why she opposed Mr. Trump.

“I have long criticized the Democratic Party for encouraging Americans to think of themselves first as members of defined racial and ethnic groups,” Ms. Chavez said. “Now, faced with a Republican candidate who divides people on the basis of their race, ethnicity and religion, I cannot do otherwise than to oppose him.”

The #NeverTrump movement had high hopes of steering the nomination away from Mr. Trump in the primaries, but the New York billionaire slapped down their efforts, forcing them to either jump aboard the Trump train or find an alternative.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah suggested he was done with Mr. Trump over lewd remarks he made about women in a 2005 video, but eventually came home to the nominee.

Others kept their cards close to the vest on where they stood, including Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who refused throughout the campaign to say whether he would back Mr. Trump. He revealed that he had voted for Mr. Trump only a bit more than an hour before the polls closed in his state.

In Ohio, Sen. Rob Portman voted for Mr. Pence, while Gov. John Kasich voted for Mr. McCain. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois wrote in Mr. Petraeus and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina backed Mr. McMullin — as did Stuart Stevens, who served as a top adviser to Mr. Romney’s 2012 campaign.

CNN reported that former President George W. Bush and wife Laura both left the presidential line blank.

Lanhee Chen said he has been voting for Republicans since he backed Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas in 1996, but this go-round, he broke his streak.

“I wrote in Mitt Romney for president and Marco Rubio for vice president,” Mr. Chen said. “I thought about Paul Ryan for vice president, but Paul has a more important job right now.”

Mr. Ryan, however, did win the vote of Douglas Heye, who served under former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and ex-RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“The decision not to vote for Trump was an easy but reluctant one,” Mr. Heye said, adding that it was the first time in his life that he went against a Republican running for president or Congress.

Others including Beau Correll, a Virginia Republican who supported efforts aimed at steering the nomination away from Mr. Trump at the Republican National Convention, declined to say how he voted.

But Mr. Correll said that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should resign if Mr. Trump loses, blaming the GOP leader for squashing voices of dissent that came out against Mr. Trump.

“I think there has been a lot of dissatisfaction with the nominee within the party and with conservatives in general, and there needs to be some bloodletting at the RNC should he lose,” Mr. Correll said. “There are a lot of people — including national delegates — who were quite clear if he were the nominee, we would lose.”


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