GOP nominates Trump as Mich. passes on first vote

Chad Livengood, and Jonathan Oosting

Cleveland — Republicans formally nominated New York billionaire Donald Trump as their 2016 presidential candidate Tuesday night at their national convention, but some Michigan delegates complained after the state passed on its first opportunity to cast its votes.

Trump's son, Donald Jr., cast the final votes needed to give his father the minimum 1,237 delegates needed to be crowned the GOP's White House nominee.

Michigan's delegation passed on voting in alphabetical order to allow New York's delegation to put Trump over the top. The state Republican Party later put out a statement saying the Trump campaign asked Michigan to pass so New York's delegation "could cast the votes to put him over the edge."

Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, eventually cast 51 of Michigan's 59 delegates for the businessman and was the next to last state to cast its votes.

"We are so committed to turn our state red and winning the presidency that we were willing to wear Ohio State colors," McDaniel said surrounded by delegates clad in red-and-white jerseys. "From Mackinac to Motown, from the U.P. to the Big Three, we proudly cast two votes for John Kasich, six votes for Ted Cruz and 51 votes for the next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette  and Michigan GOP delegate Ronna Romney McDaniel run through their list ahead of declaring the Michigan delegate votes at the Republican National Convention.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a close ally to Trump in the GOP’s fractious primaries, made the first on-stage nomination speech for Trump to be the GOP’s new standard bearer.

"I came to believe some months ago that Donald Trump is the singular leader that can get this country back on track,” Sessions said to a rousing applause inside Quicken Loans Arena. “He has the strength, the courage and the will to get it done.”

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins of Buffalo, NY seconded Sessions’ nomination.

“Donald Trump is not just a candidate,” Collins said. “Donald Trump is a movement.”

Republican delegates later nominated Indiana Gov. Mike Pence by acclimation to be Trump's vice presidential runnning mate.

The formal nomination process required each state delegation to cast their nomination votes for president in alphabetical order. The roll call vote began just after 6:10 p.m. and was finished at about 7:45 p.m. with the recording of Pennsylvania's delegates.

McDaniel announced at 6:45 p.m. that Michigan passed on voting in alphabetical order. She is an at-large Trump delegate and niece of the GOP's 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has been a vocal Trump critic.

As the states continued in alphabetical order, McDaniel got concerned she wouldn't be able to speak when New York state initially passed.

"Everybody in my family is just freaking out," she told delegates on the floor as she read her text messages.

But Pennsylvania was skipped, and convention officials went back to New York for Donald Trump Jr. to cast the deciding votes. Pennsylvania cast its delegate votes last after Michigan.

Romney later explained her disappointment.

“I was really disappointed in the sense I would have liked to have my kids be able to see me,” McDaniel told reporters on the convention floor. “It was more of a mom, family, Michigan thing. I wanted our delegates to have that moment. I wanted our state to shine.”

One Michigan delegate was not happy the state agreed to be skipped in the nomination process.

"Michigan got screwed," said Tim Brown of Westland, a delegate for Ohio Gov. John Kasich from the 13th Congressional District.

State Sen. Jack Brandenburg, a Harrison Township Republican and longtime Trump supporter, said the voting order was in no way indicative of Michigan’s importance this fall.

“I don’t look at it that way, because in November, we’re going to be a red state,” Brandenburg said. “In my neck of the woods, he’s playing very, very well.”

Trump won 25 of Michigan’s 59 delegates in his March 8 primary victory. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Kasich each received 17 Michigan delegates based on a proportion of the statewide vote.

But Michigan Republican Party rules allow pledged delegates to vote as they choose if the candidate they were initially bound to dropped out of the presidential race, treating them as “uncommitted.”

Kasich and Cruz ended their bids for the White House in May as Trump began pulling away with enough delegates to capture the nomination. Trump won 1,543 delegates during the state-by-state primaries and caucuses.

Steven Ostrow, executive director of the state GOP, was walking around on the convention floor early Tuesday evening, asking Kasich and Cruz delegates how they intended to vote.

Jodie Brown of Westland was sent to Cleveland as a delegate for Cruz but decided to cast her vote for Trump.

“I liked Cruz, but Cruz didn’t have the votes. He suspended his campaign, and he was done. Let’s move forward. Let’s take Trump,” Brown said. “I would rather have a rocky four years with Trump than the end of the world with Hillary.”

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, a delegate for Kasich who campaigned for the Ohio governor in west Michigan, was also voting for Trump.

“John ran I think a very good campaign, but John’s withdrawn from the race,” said Hoekstra, who served with Kasich in the U.S. House. “It’s time for the party to unite behind Donald Trump and focus on November, not whenever we had our primary. The focus is forward.”

Hoekstra expected most unbound Michigan delegates to vote for Trump.

“I think the Michigan delegation has gotten the message: We can win Michigan, but to do so we’ve got to be united, and for the vast majority of us, that’s exactly where we are,” he said.

Twitter: @ChadLivengood

Twitter: @JonathanOosting