By the last night of the Republican National Convention, the GOP has moved toward unity, Medina Municipal Court Clerk Nancy Abbott said minutes before the start of Thursday night’s speeches in Quicken Loans Arena.
“I bought a Trump button,” she laughed.
Two days prior, Abbott, a pledged John Kasich alternate delegate, cast her vote for the Ohio governor, but Donald Trump is now her candidate, she said.
“He is my nominee, I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Abbott said.
But the refusal of former candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R- Texas, to endorse Trump during his speech Wednesday night still hung in the air leading up to the final night.
“Everybody is talking about Cruz (on the news). Nobody is talking about (vice-presidential nominee Mike) Pence,” Abbott said.
Brunswick Mayor Ron Falconi, who attended the convention with his family this week, said Cruz’s lack of endorsement may hurt the senator in the short term.
“I concur with some of his beliefs as well. I was just a little disappointed that he just didn’t (endorse),” Falconi said. “I think he should have endorsed and followed through what he said he would do.”
While some have suggested Cruz’s non-endorsement indicates a lack of control over the convention by the presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, said Trump knew the content of Cruz’s speech at least two hours prior to his talk.
“(Trump) said, ‘Look, Cruz has gotten enough votes let him speak, let him go say what he wants,’ but in the end I think Donald Trump realized it was going to be a turning point for Ted Cruz,” he said.
Renacci believes Cruz’s speech, which was met with boos from the crowd, hurt the senator but unified the party.
“You saw people who went from sitting on a chair to standing up — ‘Trump, Trump, Trump.’ So I think it turned into, really, a unification,” he said.
Abbott sees the speech as a distraction from the real star of Wednesday night — Pence.
“They didn’t talk about what they should have been talking about, which was Gov. Pence and what he adds to the ticket,” she said.
Falconi said he believes Pence brings political experience to the ticket, which could help Trump with Congress. Abbott agreed.
“I think he softens the ticket. I think he brings governmental experience to the ticket,” she said. “I think he’ll be a good adviser to Trump, as long as Trump listens to that advice.”
Renacci said Pence is a friend and a “great” vice presidential choice.
“When I think of Mike Pence, I think of family first, faith second and friendship third,” he said.
State Sen. Larry Obhof declined to comment on Cruz’s speech but said being able to see Pence’s track record was a bonus for a vice-presidential candidate, which he called a “great pick.”
“I think he reassures conservative voters,” he said.