At least 1,000 Ted Cruz supporters cheered their candidate at a riverfront bar Wednesday – and booed when Donald Trump’s plane flew overhead.
As many as two dozen North Carolina delegates joined the lunchtime crowd at the venue, which was thick with the smell of barbecue and jammed with supporters of the Texas senator.
Despite the boos, some said they will reluctantly support their party’s nominee.
“I’ve never been on the ‘Trump train,’ but in November I will vote for Donald Trump,” said Mark Mahaffey of Lee County, who supported the effort of anti-Trump delegates. “The Cruz folks I know are all educated and informed voters and we know Hillary Clinton would be a disaster.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“We know what we have to do, even if we have to hold our nose.”
Delegate Linda Devore of Fayetteville, said she’d also voted for Trump. “For 2016, there’s no way forward for Cruz delegates.”
Cruz, scheduled to speak to the Republican convention Wednesday night, thanked supporters for what he called “an amazing journey.”
Cruz spoke for around 20 minutes but never mentioned Trump even as he implicitly addressed the split in the party. “I want to see unity, and the way to see unity is to unite behind shared principles,” Cruz said.
The crowd was clearly unified around Cruz. They chanted, “We want Ted!,” and “Run in ‘20!”
Rick Tyler, Cruz’ former campaign spokesman, said he expects a third of Cruz supporters to go with Trump now and another third to come around by November. He said another third may never vote for the nominee.
Texas delegate Sue Cleveland will grudgingly.
“I can’t stand Trump,” she said. “(But) not voting for Trump would be voting for Hillary.”