• Local, national GOP leaders urge faithful to rally behind Trump

    By: Greg Suskin

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Donald Trump is now setting his sights on November and a battle with Hillary Clinton.

    The billionaire businessman and TV star survived a grueling GOP primary season, vanquishing 16 other Republican candidates.  

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich dropped out of the race following Trump's victory in Indiana.

    On Wednesday, Channel 9 spoke with Republicans and Democrats on the local, state and national level.  Republicans said there is now only one person who will face Clinton, and they have to support him, like it or not.

    GOP North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger said Republicans will rally around their nominee because of the alternative.

    "When they see who they are going to elect, and the continuation of the Obama presidency if Hillary carries his banner, I think people will recognize that they've got to step up. We have to vote. We have to be engaged," Pittenger said.

    However, Channel 9 political expert Michael Bitzer said a bruising primary raises lots of concerns for the GOP, such as can Trump tone it down?

    "How does Donald Trump act? Does he act presidential, or does he continue this kind of angry rhetoric?" Bitzer said.

    There's also the potential impact on local races in North Carolina. As a battleground state, how well Trump does in the polls could determine if some candidates run with him or from him?

    "The big question is going to be folks like Pat McCrory and Richard Burr here in North Carolina, who have very competitive races coming up this fall.  How close do they want to get to Donald Trump?" Bitzer said.

    McCrory's opponent for governor, Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper, made his thoughts clear on Trump being the GOP nominee and its effect on the race.

    "I’ve been concerned about his divisiveness and how he works to divide people and I don't think we need that in North Carolina. We have enough of that already," Cooper said.

    Channel 9 learned Wednesday that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and North Carolina's Thom Tillis and Richard Burr will support Trump moving forward.  

    Only South Carolina's Lindsey Graham would not say if he would support Trump, saying only that he would not support Clinton.

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