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Sunday At The Republican National Convention
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August 27, 2012
Republicans and journalists from around the country are gathered in Tampa, Florida this week for the Republican National Convention -- at which Mitt Romney will be formally nominated as the GOP candidate for president. Among the attendees, Maryland’s 37 delegates... and WYPR’s Art Buist.
Art Buist: Throughout the day Sunday, the check-in desk at Tampa’s Double Tree Suites was busy fielding calls from Marylanders trying to figure out how the get from the airport, and working to check-in delegates as they arrived. Of the 230 rooms at the hotel most are taken up with the Maryland delegation and their families.
Louis Pope: I am Louis Pope, I’m Chair of the Maryland Delegation for the convention in Tampa.
Buist: He’s the one you’ll see on TV announcing Maryland’s vote during the roll call for President, no doubt adding a few words about Fort McHenry, Crabs, and our sports teams. Delegates for the convention are elected in the Primary. A potential delegate is listed on the ballot along with the name of the candidate he or she is pledged to support.
Pope: Anybody who is a registered Republican can run for delegate. It’s run by congressional district; and each congressional district in Maryland elects three delegates and three alternates to the convention.
Buist: All states get three delegates, per congressional district, plus ten, which Maryland elects at its Party convention, and three “super delegates”. A state can also get up to seven bonus delegates for having a Republican legislature or Governor. One of the bluest states in the Union, Maryland doesn’t qualify for any bonus delegates.
Convention events have been cancelled for Monday, due to the approach of Isaac. When it passes to the west of Tampa Monday afternoon, it could be a category one hurricane with winds over 75 miles per hour at its center. Tampa is likely to see wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour, and a storm surge from two to five feet. Some tornados are also possible.
Chairman Pope said there are no plans to move the delegation from its waterfront hotel; but they’ve taken some steps because of the weather.
Pope: The Maryland delegation did order 200 ponchos, almost a week ago, when we saw it was going to be rainy and a storm. And if our hair gets messed up a little bit in the wind we’ll be fine; because we are here for a purpose and that is to nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan
Buist: One of the alternate delegates is John Fiastro, from Towson. This is his third convention.
John Fiastro: It is a nonstop rush. Every day is filled. We start around 7:30, and we really don’t finish the day until about 1:30 - 2:00 in the morning.
Buist: Maryland is pretty likely to go for Obama in the November General Election. But Fiastro says Maryland Republicans have a lot of work to do after the convention.
Fiastro: We charge back into our own states, and some of our Maryland delegates will actually end up helping in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania which are in play. So, we’re about to deploy nationwide to get our nominee elected.
Buist: For a little historical perspective, Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, remembers when conventions really meant something. Her first convention was 1968.
Ellen Sauerbrey: We were courted heavily by candidates, at that time it was Nixon and Rockefeller. It was a very exciting convention because Ted Agnew was chosen from our delegation as the VP.
Buist: Yeah, that was a surprise too.
Sauerbrey: There was no bigger surprised group than the Maryland Delegation.
Buist: But this is the first convention she has attended that’s been threatened by a hurricane. By Sunday evening the wind was picking up, the rain was falling, and the water in Tampa Bay was lapping at the eight-foot retaining wall outside the hotel.
I’m Art Buist, reporting from Tampa, for 88-1 WYPR.
You can reach the WYPR Newsroom at email@example.com.
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