News Local/State

Why Some Illinois Delegates For Trump May Stay Away From The GOP Convention

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Westfield, Indiana on Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Westfield, Indiana on Tuesday. Michael Conroy / AP

Some Illinois delegates for Donald Trump are not going to go to the Republican National Convention next week to actually nominate their candidate. These delegates say their decision to stay away from the convention is because of the tepid support Trump has received from the Illinois Republican Party.

Almost 25, 000 Republican primary voters picked Rich Nordstrom to be a delegate for Donald Trump.

He’s the mayor of Galva, Illinois - a town of about 3,000 people, located halfway between Moline and Peoria.

And Nordstrom is enthusiastic about Trump.

But he’s not so enthusiastic about going to the Republican National Convention next week.

He’s supposed to cast a vote to officially name Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee.

And that means - spending the week in Cleveland.

"I have not made a commitment to go," said Nordstrom. "I’d like to go. You know, there’s a lot of considerations. The two main considerations are time and money."

Delegates have to pay their own way to the convention.

Nordstrom says he didn’t get in on the hotel the Illinois delegation’s staying at earlier, thinking $325 dollars per night was too much.

Now - he’s finding prices are closer to $500 a night.

He says he was naive to wait.

So now - he’s waiting even longer to make his decision.

He’s gonna see how he feels on Sunday - the day before the convention starts, keeping his eye on places on AirBnB that he can share with someone else.

"But more shared rooms, you know, for like 60, 80 dollars a night," said Nordstrom. "I don’t think kind of the shared room kind of guy.

But there’s another reason Nordstrom’s not that enthusiastic about going - besides the prospects of sharing a room.

A lot of his own fellow Illinois Republicans won’t be there, including Governor Bruce Rauner, Senator Mark Kirk and a few congressmen.

Some of those top-ranking Illinois Republicans have been vocal in saying they won’t endorse Trump - and they’re skipping the convention.

"Now that we finally have a Republican governor after years of not having one, then basically kind of blowing off the convention - I thought it was kind of a letdown, a slap in the face," said Nordstrom.

Another Trump delegate, Anthon Anderson of Joliet is also unhappy.

"I just don’t like what I see," said Anderson. "What I see is a delegation that’s ready to go to Cleveland and undermine the process, at least so far as the Illinois delegation is concerned."

Anderson says hands down he is not going to the convention out of protest of the Illinois state Republican Party not supporting Trump.

"There’s absolutely no room for me to change my mind for the simple fact I’ve thought long and hard," said Anderson.

Anderson says the state’s Republican Party hasn’t lifted a finger for Donald Trump.

And he doesn’t like how the former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party - Pat Brady - has said he won’t ever support Trump.

"A former party chairman is going to go to Cleveland, Ohio and do everything he can to undermine the process and make the Illinois delegation look bad; and it really will make the Illinois delegation look bad and tattered,"  said Anderson. .

"I’m not going to undermine the candidate," said Brady, a confirmed "Never Trump". "I’ve been a Republican for 45 years. I’m going to try to help the party and I think Donald Trump is going to be a trainwreck for the Republican Party."

Brady is going to the convention because he won election to be a delegate for John Kasich - which is who he’s voting for.

He says he’s not happy to hear Trump delegates are skipping the convention - but he doesn’t exactly seem sad, either.

"You know if 10 percent of the delegates don’t show up or don’t get viable replacements or valid replacements, I think his nomination could be in jeopardy," said Brady.

But John Fogarty, the attorney for the Illinois Republican Party calls a Trump defeat due to absent delegates "pretty unlikely."

Fogarty says the party already knows at least five of the 69 delegates are not attending. And there could be more. A party spokesman says things are still in flux. They’re trying to find replacements.

Fogarty says when Trump delegates fail to show up in Cleveland - the odds for people like Pat Brady to prevent Trump from becoming the nominee are better… but he says they’re still very, very long.