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Oklahoma Republicans divided on Donald Trump

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OKLAHOMA - State GOP lawmakers are polarized when it comes to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, with some pledging their support while others vow never to vote for him.

"He's not competent to be president, he's wrong on the issues, he's not a conservative, he lacks human decency and, maybe, worst of all, he speaks like he's a dictator," said Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City). "I can never support Donald Trump in good conscience."

Holt chaired Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign in the Republican primary.

But, when Trump all but clinched the nomination Tuesday night, Holt quickly distanced himself from the New York businessman.

"I have to sleep at night," he told NewsChannel 4. "I have a daughter. I can't support someone who lacks the basic human decency that Mr. Trump does."

Instead, Holt will search for a third-party candidate to support - not Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, whom he describes as "wrong on all the issues that are important to me."

But, other members of Holt's caucus are fully on board with the Trump nomination.

Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City) chaired Trump's campaign and said his policies - not his personality - should be reason enough to vote for him, specifically his knowledge of trade policy and finance.

"The best part of him is he's not owned by anybody," Shortey said. "He doesn't owe anybody political favors. He's extremely independent. He genuinely does care about the future of this country."

The state senator equates Trump to former President Ronald Reagan, whom Shortey called a "rogue" who had been disliked by the establishment.

And, though Shortey is concerned about Republicans who are staunchly 'never Trump,' he is encouraged by record numbers of voters turning out in the primaries.

Plus, he hopes the others in his caucus realize what he said would be a damaging Clinton presidency.

"At the end of the day, they're going to realize that, as bad as Donald Trump's character attributes can be, Hillary Clinton's are 10,000 times worse," he said. "I believe Mr. Trump is the right guy at the right time. He's going to pull us out of this mess. I just know he is or he's going to die trying."

Gov. Mary Fallin endorsed Trump Wednesday, telling NewsChannel 4 in a statement:

“I’m behind Donald Trump 100 percent.  Our first and foremost goal is to elect a conservative president who will promote a pro-business climate to create good jobs and is strong on national defense. Our nation wants change, and Donald Trump has led a movement across the nation calling for improving the economy, strengthening our military and reforming health care and immigration laws. He’s also shown that politicians just can’t do ‘business as usual anymore’ and the status quo is unacceptable.

I’ve had the privilege of serving the people who have twice elected me governor of Oklahoma and to two terms in Congress, and before that three terms as lieutenant governor and two terms as a state legislator. My foremost goal before me right now is finalizing a state budget and legislation that is produced in the remaining weeks of this year’s legislative session. Any discussion of other service I might be asked to offer to my country is flattering but premature.

I have not had any direct contact with Mr. Trump, but I would be very honored if I were to receive a call saying I need you to help make America great again.”

Shortey said he has a lot of respect for the governor but doesn't think she is the right choice for vice president, adding Trump needs someone who understands swing states.