Some Wake County Republicans say there’s a battle over party’s future

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Republicans came together for an event Tuesday in Raleigh, and some of them say they’re in a battle over the future of the party.

The Wake County GOP held its convention at the Expo Center at the State Fairgrounds, with supporters of each of the party’s four remaining presidential candidates making their pitches ahead of the March 15th primary.

The event came the same day Ted Cruz made a stop in Raleigh and ahead of Donald Trump’s appearance in Fayetteville on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Harrison says she missed the chance to see Trump in Raleigh in December, but won’t miss out this time.

“I doubled down on the Trump train,” she said. “I’d do anything to get him elected. He’s the man who’s going to take apart the government and make America great again.”

But, supporters of the other Republican candidates say their guy needs to be the one to bring down Trump and then take on Hillary Clinton.

Speaking about Ted Cruz, Dianne Gibson of Knightdale said, “He does what he says he’ll do. He doesn’t compromise.”

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr says he’s been a Kasich supporter for years. He says Kasich’s record of government service is an asset.

“He’s far and away the most experienced, 18 years in Congress,” said Orr.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s backers are encouraging people not to write him off.

“I do think Rubio will do well in North Carolina. He’ll walk away with a significant number of the delegates, and obviously that’s got to be the goal,” said Al Bouldin.

For now, Trump holds the lead in polling in North Carolina. According to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, Trump stands at 29.8 percent, compared to 19.5 percent for Cruz, 17.5 percent for Rubio and 6.8 percent for Kasich.

Trump also has amassed the most delegates across the country.

But, if he gets the nomination, he’ll face a divided party with some local Republicans saying they still won’t back him.

“Oh, I am concerned, and I couldn’t support him. I just don’t think he’s qualified to be president of the United States and commander in chief of the armed forces,” said Bob Orr.

Al Bouldin added, “I think Donald Trump would do a great amount of harm to our party.”

Dianne Gibson said, “You don’t know what to believe. I don’t trust him. He says one thing and then another.”

While Trump and Cruz are making stops in our area this week, Kasich and Rubio don’t have anything on the schedule in North Carolina at this point.

Trump’s event in Fayetteville on Wednesday begins at 7 p.m. at the Crown Coliseum.

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