The two highest-ranking Republicans in Illinois are not going to support Donald Trump at the national convention in July.
Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk announced last month that he wouldn’t attend the Republican National Convention this summer, but that he would endorse the eventual nominee. Now, multiple news outlets are reporting Gov. Bruce Rauner not only has no plans to attend the Republican convention but will not endorse Trump either. Political Science Director Chris Mooney at the University of Illinois said statewide GOP leaders have not accepted the presumptive nominee.
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“The organization, they’re sort of elites,” Mooney said. “The elected officials never did get on board with Trump even though he ended up winning the state in a fairly handy way.”
Mooney said Rauner’s decision could be to make sure he doesn’t give Democrats campaign fodder.
“The Democrats, if they see it to their advantage, they will do their best to tie the governor to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee,” he said.
Mooney thinks that support for Trump will grow over time since state Republican leaders would rather not lose an election.
“Many of the ones that are on the fence right now because of the shock will come around and line up behind Trump in the end. The establishment figures anyway,” Mooney said.
Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee after both Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the race.