Live from the GOP National |Convention in Cleveland

     Here’s the latest from Courthouse News’ team of reporters at the Republican National Committee’s presidential nominating convention in Cleveland.
     9:27 p.m.
     CLEVELAND (CN) – With Donald Trump now officially at the top of the Republican ticket, Republican party faithful can begin the process of sewing up its tears in earnest.
     Despite efforts from some anti-Trump forces at the Republican National Convention this week to disrupt Trump’s preordained path to the nomination, the brash billionaire handily won the party nomination Tuesday evening.
     Delegates on the floor cheered as his victory was announced, and some say they are happy to finally have a focal point for the party to finally get behind.
     “I think everybody is exhaling, you know what I mean?” Rico Petrocelli, a state committeeman and delegate from Florida told Courthouse News. “You want to get it to the point where you are right now where you can unite. These people can go back to their 50 states and islands and say hey, we have a job to do now.”
     Petrocelli said there weren’t efforts from within his delegation to try to disrupt Trump’s coronation.
     Speaking in favor of falling behind the Republican nominee, one delegate told the Florida group that just because a team’s quarterback is benched doesn’t mean the team’s offensive line stops blocking for his replacement, Petrocelli said.
     “This is the pressure valve letting go,” he said.
     Even a delegate for Sen. Ted Cruz who sported a pro-Cruz button on the convention floor said that while he felt obligated to back the Texan for the nomination, he had resigned himself to Trump’s inevitability.
     “It was determined largely in Indiana,” Louisiana delegate Michael Bayham told Courthouse News. “No surprise there. Thirteen million voters supported Mr. Trump, who won an overwhelming majority of the states and he’s the nominee. There should be no shock there.”
     To Bayman, there was no sense in attempting to disrupt Trump’s nomination, as it would “sabotage” the party’s job in November.
     Bayman and Petrocelli said it is now up to party loyalists like those on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena to rally behind Trump and win the presidency.
     “A lot of it is what Donald does as a candidate,” Bayman told Courthouse News. “He made a good step with picking [Indiana Gov. Mike] Pence, who’s respected by a lot of conservatives. He’s attacked the democratic candidate, something neither of our last two candidates bothered to do. He’s fighting and that’s something that we haven’t had from a presidential nominee since I don’t know when.”
     But not all Cruz backers were as amiable as Bayman.
     Texas delegate Kris Schafer, who wore a red shirt emblazoned with his support of his home state’s senator, said he was “concerned for the future of the party” after Trump’s official nomination.
     “I go back to getting conservatives elected,” Schafer told Courthouse News, of what he does now that Trump has been nominated.
     He also would not say that he would throw his full support behind Trump, though he said he is required to support the candidate as a sitting delegate.
     He said that the only thing that could heal the party would be if Trump actually goes through with some of the things he has said he would do in the White House. Schafer was skeptical this would happen, however.
     “He released a list of 11 justices that he would put on the Supreme Court and within 24 hours he walked it back,” Schafer said. “There has been no firm thing, other than making people angry.” – Tim Ryan
     8:17 p.m.
     CLEVELAND (CN) – A delegate from Alaska requested a poll of his state’s delegation, following a plan forces opposed to Donald Trump put forward earlier in the day to show his thin support in the party.
     The Alaska delegate rushed toward the front of the arena, where Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stood at the podium waiting to announce the final tally after the states formally cast their votes to make Trump the nominee.
     The delegate said Alaska’s count was misreported and that it should have been 12 for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 11 for Trump and five for Sen. Marco Rubio. He said he was never informed that the vote would give all 28 of the state’s votes to Trump.
     “We were never told you were going to miscount our votes tonight,” the delegate who came to the microphone said.
     The move followed the script that anti-Trump forces put out in an email Tuesday morning seeking to show that while Trump has enough votes to win the nomination based on bound delegates, there are still plenty within the party who do not support its nominee.
     Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus explained that the rules were to blame for the confusion. When nominees drop out, delegates in states are reallocated to the remaining candidates, Priebus said.
     As a result, though individual members voted as the Alaska delegate said, the delegate announced that all 28 of its votes would go to Trump, the only remaining candidate.
     After the Alaska recount, Ryan announced the final tally of votes for nominee, which gave Trump the victory 1725 delegates to Cruz’s 475, Kasich’s 120, Rubio’s 114, Ben Carson’s 7 Jeb Bush’s 3 and Sen. Rand Paul’s 2.
     The convention then nominated Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be the vice presidential nominee by voice vote.
     7:14 p.m.
     CLEVELAND (CN) – Despite rumblings that delegates still not won over by Donald Trump would disrupt his official nomination, all went according to plan at the Republican National Convention, with Trump handily winning the nomination.
     After Michigan and New York passed on their opportunities to vote for Trump, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. gave his father the nomination officially just after 7:10 Tuesday night.
     “Congratulations dad, we love you,” Donald Trump Jr. shouted after announcing New York’s vote for his father.
     The crowd cheered loudly and the video boards lit up with videos of golden fireworks as an instrumental version of Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” blared through the arena.
     No delegate enacted the plan put forward by anti-Trump forces to request a roll call vote of his or her state’s delegation.
     Though Virginia delegates briefly left their section on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena to conference, one delegate told reporters the state is united behind Trump despite the attempt of a few delegates to throw off Trump’s ascent to the nomination.
     Two voters abstained in Colorado, which went for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. When its delegation chair announced that the state was backing Cruz, boos reigned down from the assembled audience.
     Michigan and New York both passed on their chances to vote for Trump, though they did so in order to allow Trump’s home state to be the one that officially nominated him.
     Each state that went for Trump earned loud cheers from the audience. The opposite was true when a state went against the all-but guaranteed nominee, except for a smattering of cheers from the Ohio delegation when a state gave delegates to Gov. John Kasich. – Tim Ryan
     6 p.m.
     CLEVELAND (CN) – The group of Republican delegates attempting to throw a last minute revolt to prevent Donald Trump from securing the Republican presidential nomination is asking supporters to gum up the vote that would officially make the billionaire real estate developer the GOP standard-bearer.
     In an email sent to delegates Tuesday and obtained by Courthouse News, those still opposed to Trump urged their fellow floor members to ask for a full recording of each delegation’s vote on a secret ballot before it is reported in the long, ceremonial roll call of the states to take place when the convention gavels in for the day.
     Along with outlining step by step how delegates should disrupt the nomination process, the email encourages delegates to vote their conscience, specifically on this secret ballot.
     Upon doing this, the two-page guide tells delegates that each delegation’s chair will announce the results of the vote, which may be different than how the state will be required to vote because some delegates are bound by the result of their state primaries under the 2016 convention rules.
     Then, after the state announces its vote, delegates are encouraged to challenge the accuracy of the vote if they suspect it was not properly announced.
     “Mr./Madame Chair, I challenge the correctness of the vote as announced by the delegation chair,” the guide tells delegates to declare. “I request a poll of the delegation under Rule 37(b).”
     While the strategy will not prevent Trump from becoming the nominee because he has secured the number of bound delegates needed to win, it could show the number of party faithful the brash billionaire has yet to win over.
     “Today, each and every delegate still has a choice before them,” the email reads. “Right now, you can demand a gathering of your delegations and can further demand that each delegate be allowed to cast a vote for the presidential nominee of their choice before tonight’s nomination session begins. This is your single most important right as a delegate to this convention. You can’t control whether they steal your vote or not – but you do have it within your authority to demand that your ballot be cast & counted.” – Tim Ryan

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