State Republican Party chairman John Hancock says the weekend’s state convention showed him that the party is more unified than it was two months ago about electing Donald Trump as its nominee. About 1,300 people attended the Missouri GOP convention over the weekend in Branson. The event takes place once every four years, the same year that America chooses the next President of the United States.
“I think there was some real concern coming into the convention that the party was going to be divided,” said Hancock. “There’s a lot of real differences of opinion shall we say, not so much with the platform but with the elections and what has transpired. I’m gratified at how unified the party is.”
Representative Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) says there’s still fighting among Trump and Ted Cruz supporters.
“There are going to be differences of opinion and unfortunately today we aren’t totally together as a party, but hopefully in November we will be,” said Moon.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) says the future of the U.S. Supreme Court is reason enough to support Trump. Republicans want a conservative judge chosen to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia.
Recent polling shows Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton virtually tied in the presidential race.
Among convention business included the party adopting its convention platform. The plan calls for passage of so-called ‘Right to Work’ legislation, Pro-Life issues, opposition to allowing transgender students to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity and preventing entry to the U.S. for those without legal immigration status and terrorists.
Hancock thinks the state platform closely mirrors Trump’s platform.
“I think as we are getting to know Mr. Trump better over the weeks since he’s become our presumptive nominee, I think his attitudes, his values, his philosophies meet very nicely with the wording of our platform,” said Hancock.
Other business included a state committee passing a resolution to ask the legislature to make Missouri a closed primary state. Hancock says many states have closed presidential preference primaries.
“It makes the execution of the political plan a lot simpler when the voters out there are registered by party and I think our committee feels like that would be a positive development for Missouri,” said Hancock.
Analysts say closed primaries allow parties to have more control over who future nominees would be. Voters would be required to register their party affiliation and that information would be public record.
The final 25 delegates were also chosen at the state convention for the national Republican convention in Cleveland, which begins July 18. Missouri’s GOP party chose 27 of its delegates during the congressional district convention in April.