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Northwest News Network

Oregon Republicans Choose Delegates For National Convention

Oregon Republican Party members listen at the state fairgrounds in Salem Saturday as potential delegates vie for the chance to go to the national convention in Cleveland.
Oregon Republican Party members listen at the state fairgrounds in Salem Saturday as potential delegates vie for the chance to go to the national convention in Cleveland.

"I have positive feelings about Donald Trump as a candidate."

Gil Bellamy of Salem said he wasn’t holding his nose as he made a bid Saturday to represent Oregon at the Republican national convention this summer in Cleveland—where most Oregon delegates will have been pre-assigned to Trump.

"I think he's a good candidate," Bellamy said. "I think he's a patriotic American and he is a Republican." Bellamy said Trump had, however, been his fifth choice.

Trump won most of Oregon's delegates through the results of the state primary election in May. But as the GOP faithful gathered at the state fairgrounds in Salem to make their delegates official, many spoke less of Trump and more of the need to stand firm on Republican principles.

State Representative Bill Post of Keizer had the crowd laughing at his barbs about liberal Oregon voters. He said his real motivation to go to the RNC would be to raise the profile of Oregon Republicans at the national level.

"Let me tell you the truth of national politics," Post told the crowd. "They think we in Oregon are a bunch of screwballs, so they don't send any money our way to help guys like me and some of our other candidates here to win state offices."

Post was named an RNC delegate. He said he’s willing to vote for Trump at the national convention.

Melissa Barnard of Lebanon said the Trump campaign energized her to get off the sidelines and get involved in the nominating process, including her bid for a delegate spot.

"Unfortunately we have corruption everywhere," Barnard said. "It's time that people start standing up and saying, 'No more career politicians.' We need to change things out."

More than 600 Oregon Republicans chose 25 delegates and 25 alternates to the RNC. The Oregon Republican Party estimates that the trip will cost each delegate up to $3,000.

Oregon Democrats used six regional conventions Saturday to select some of their delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia. The rest will be selected at a state convention in Portland on June 18.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network