What to Know
- A Virginia Republican delegate has filed a federal lawsuit to avoid voting for presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
- The delegate, Carroll Beau Correll Jr., says a state law requiring delegates to vote for the primary winner is unconstitutional.
- Va. Attorney General Mark Herring has defended the state law and says Correll knew the rules when he became a delegate.
A Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention says a state law requiring him to vote for presumptive nominee Donald Trump is unconstitutional and he would sooner be arrested than vote against his conscience.
Carroll Beau Correll Jr., of Winchester, filed a federal lawsuit last month against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and other state officials. Correll argues the state's delegates should not be bound to a law that requires them to vote according to the results of the March 1 primary.
"If you don't vote for Trump, you're committing a misdemeanor. It's so absurd that the state government compels members of a private organization how to vote in that organization," Correll said.
According to Correll, he could face some jail time if he does not vote for Trump.
Herring is fighting Correll's lawsuit and said Correll knew what the rules were for delegates when he applied to be one and shouldn’t be allowed to invalidate the results of the primary.
A federal court in Richmond is set to hear Correll's lawsuit Thursday.
Correll supported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) during the primary. He's now part of the growing "Free the Delegates" movement and believes there is still an alternative to Trump.
"Well, you know, we still got some time. There's been rumors of other individuals who may put their name forward," Correll said. "The Trump train has turned into a train wreck. He's been out-raised 40 to 1 by Hillary Clinton and if we continue with Donald Trump as a party, we're going to have certain defeat in November at the hands of the Hillary Clinton campaign."
Howie Lind, former Republican chairman of Virginia's 10th district, sent a letter to party leaders asking them to remove Correll from the roster of delegates.
"It greatly saddens me that he has gone [down] this road to abandon the Republican Party in this critical year. My contention, of which I hope to prove to you, is that Beau Correll is in violation of the 2016 Statement of Intent by openly advocating for a 3rd party candidate to run for President this year," Lind states in the letter.
John Fredericks, conservative radio host and vice chairman of the Virginia Trump for President campaign, told News4 that Carroll's lawsuit "is baseless and represents the epitome of arrogance. It's a self aggrandizing, ego maniacal publicity stunt with no foundation and no chance of success."
However, some voters said they support Correll's fight.
"[It is] our right to vote for who we feel is right for the job and I don't think that should be dictated by anyone else," said Marianne Tomasic.