When Charlene Hardcastle set out to decorate for Colorado Women for Trump’s watch party at the Boardroom Restaurant in Littleton, her theme was simple: all things Trump.
The result was tables strewn with fake money, miniature Styrofoam Trump jets, golf tees and American flag-topped walls made out large LEGO bricks.
Hardcastle says her group organized the event in tandem with the Colorado GOP as a show of unity.
“We’re hoping the Republicans will get on board full throttle for Trump,” she said Thursday night.
To judge from the crowd sipping beers around those decorated tables, Hardcastle might get her wish. Most people said Trump was not their first choice for the nomination, but they generally seemed happy to watch him accept it.
Retiree Jim Hargis started out supporting Ted Cruz and only recently converted to Trump. He says he started supporting the nominee simply to honor the will of Republican voters, but the convention helped him feel a lot happier with that choice.
“I’m ecstatic with the speakers at the convention,” says Hargis. “It’s revealed that we have a good unifier here. [Trump] is a great unifier person.”
Not all of Colorado’s Cruz supporters have made that switch though; some of the state’s RNC delegates staged a short uprising on the convention floor on Monday. When it failed, they briefly walked out. The rebels said they were acting on principle, but their actions didn’t sit well with some back home.
“If I had been chosen to go I would have sat in my seat. I would have stayed there,” says Lisa Furman. “We shouldn’t be fighting amongst each other.”
Trump already had a rocky relationship with the state’s Republican establishment, after the party’s complicated delegate selection process guaranteed that few Colorado supporters would be going to Cleveland. Some fear the Trump campaign may see the convention protest as the final straw.
“It’ll be interesting to see if the campaign just writes Colorado off as ‘unwinnable’ because the Colorado Republicans have shown themselves to be so difficult to work with,” said partygoer Nikki Mada.
When Trump finally took the stage Thursday night, the gathered Republicans were more than ready to hear what he had to say. The crowd listened intently through the entire address, occasionally breaking out into cheers and chants of “build a wall” and “lock her up.”
Afterward, Sally Stanley said she went into the convention feeling lukewarm about Trump, and this speech was exactly what she needed to hear from him.
“He came forward with such great detail,” says Stanley. “I hadn’t heard that before, in terms of what he was going to do. And that was very impressive.”
For those nervous about Trump’s often blunt and off-the-cuff style of speaking, his discipline in sticking to his script came as a relief.
“It was very encouraging. There was none of the nonsense we’ve heard from him before. So, it’s all good,” said Kathleen Reynolds.
Reynolds says what she heard at the RNC, from Trump and other politicians, makes her feel more enthusiastic about trying to get him elected this fall. But first, she plans to arm herself by hearing what the other side has to say.
“I can’t wait to watch the Democratic convention next week,” says Reynolds. “I don’t like politics that well, but I’m so into this.”