The Ohio University College Republicans officially endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday night.
The club was scheduled to take an endorsement vote last week, but after an ardent debate the decision was shelved — although only for a week.
"I'll admit, I was pretty nervous at the beginning," club President Dave Parkhill said. "But it turned out pretty well."
Parkhill did not have an exact number of how the voting broke down. He estimated that over 60 members were in attendance, but said some may have abstained from voting. He counted only two people who did not want to endorse Trump.
Many members at the OUCR meeting last week were in support of Trump, but an endorsement was more divisive. Toward the end of that meeting, club members split into two groups: those who supported Trump and those who were still undecided. Parkhill had opened the floor for discussion on several of Trump's policies, but the debate soon ended after the two sides began to argue loudly with each other.
"Trump can be a very divisive candidate, especially with Republicans who have a certain set of values," club Vice President Ryan Evans, a junior studying political science, said. "Personally, you don't have to vote for him, but as a club we have to back him."
Parkhill said he wanted to heal the rift that was opened at the previous meeting. He started off on Wednesday by talking about why the club needed to be unified, and then he showed the club a video published by the hacker-activist group Anonymous that outlined some of the false claims made by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
"I told them that we would mostly be focusing on local elections, but that it was important that we kept Hillary out of the White House," Parkhill said.
The club's rules state that only members that have paid dues may vote, but Parkhill put forward a motion to suspend that rule for the Trump vote because it was early in the year. Most members had not yet paid their dues and Parkhill wanted to involve everyone in the decision.
"We might not all be on the Trump train, but we're all on the anti-Hillary train," Cole Neuhart, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, said.
Still, both the OUCR executive board and club members agree that the focus will be on the local campaigns.
"I'm not really going to campaign for Trump," Neuhart said. "I'll do what I can and what the club wants."