Calvin Tucker doesn’t foresee Republicans hijacking the party convention this week. And even if they do, they won’t get his vote.
"I don’t expect to support anyone other than the presumptive nominee, who has won against 16 other candidates, who has spent millions of dollars in the quest to become the nominee, who gotten millions of votes across this country," said Tucker, who will be representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District as a delegate this week in Cleveland.
"This process, this system is the system under which we live, we understand the rules," Tucker said. "We have to accept the will of the people."
He said he plans to vote for Donald Trump, in part, because of that will.
"Donald Trump is obviously the last man standing," Tucker said, adding that his two guiding principles in determining who to vote for are electability and last man standing. "And electability has to do with the 270 electoral votes that are needed to become the president of the United States. . . .I believe hands down that he can win the presidential election."
Mark Townsend, a bound delegate representing Massachusetts, echoed Tucker’s sentiments.
"It doesn’t seem to me that [a contested convention] is going to happen," Townsend, who initially backed Gov. Scott Walker but ran as a Trump delegate, said. "Trump has well more the number of delegates he needs. I always thought the nominee was going to be one of the people who stepped up and ran...As delegates its our responsibility to honor the will of the voters."
Townsend and Tucker will be describing their experiences at the Republican National Convention this week for Metro's online and print editions.
This will be Tucker’s second convention; his first was in 2012, representing Tampa, Florida. He was elected in April as one of Pennsylvania's 54 unbound delegates – the largest group of free agents to converge on Cleveland. Unbound delegates are not tethered to a candidate until voting at the convention.
"I have high expectations politically, but I’m a little bit apprehensive as to what confronts me from a security point of view in Cleveland," Tucker wrote in an email. "The emotions that I currently feel is much different than the emotions that I felt in 2012."
"In 2012, my first national or international news media interview was the first night of the convention, but this year I have had well over 25 encounters with such media outlets," Tucker wrote. "What kind of press coverage awaits me in Cleveland? This also adds to the excitement and thrill of being a delegate in the year of Trump."
Trump took Pennsylvania by a landslide in its April 26 GOP primary: He won all 17 delegates, and took 56.7 percent of the vote, compared to Ted Cruz’s 12.6 percent.
Tucker’s district is a predominantly Democratic one that includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County – Trump won both, too.
Townsend is traveling to Cleveland from a state that, on many levels, has rejected Trump.
Gov. Charlie Baker is skipping the convention, and he’s the only Republican governor to publicly reject voting for Trump. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee and the state’s previous Republican governor, hasn’t been among Trump's harshest critics, slamming the real-estate mogul for not releasing his tax return and calling for another candidate to replace him at a brokered convention.
That said, Trump won 22 of Massachusetts’ 42 delegates in its March 1 GOP primary.
Townsend, who represents the state’s 9th Congressional District, said he trusts in Trump’s platform, including his border- and gun-control beliefs.
"I think we’ve lost our stature around the world," Townsend said. "I think many of our allies no longer have the confidence in us that they used to have. And I’m not sure how Hillary Clinton, carrying on the policies of Barack Obama will change that.
"I think he’s something we need."