But what makes Cooper’s situation unique is the authority he wields over the other party’s national convention. Trump has been adamant about having a full-scale in-person convention, but as those plans forge ahead, Cooper will have to walk a fine line between protecting and alienating his constituents.
The governor could ban such a large gathering outright. Or he could limit the number of people allowed to gather in any given place. But any moves to curb the convention could inflame Trump and his base — and prove politically costly to Cooper in November.
“It would be horrible for the governor to get out and try to clamp down on a nominating convention,” said Daniel Barry, the former chairman of the Union County Republican Party. “It would take something very dramatic for the state or the City of Charlotte to react in such a fashion and pull the plug.”