I’m here at the Republican State Convention with a weak signal, so I may have stop at some point, but we’re about to begin the nominating and endorsement process.
We gathered here in regional caucuses at 7:30 to elect representatives to the various convention committees and to give candidates a chance to speak to us and make their pitch for our support. I was selected to be one the Wilmington region’s representatives on the Resolutions committee. So a few minutes after the start of the convention, I left to attend the meeting of the resolutions committee, where we passed two resolutions: one remembering those Republicans who have died since the last state convention and another one honoring the memory of former Republican national committeeman W. Laird Stabler, Jr. For obvious reasons, I don’t know what the convention as whole did during that time.
A video message from John McCain was played urging us to unite behind his candidacy to keep the White House in Republican hands.
Delegates to the national convention were elected as were electors who will cast Delaware’s electoral votes if McCain carries Delaware.
A video message was played from Newt Gingrich urging us to support some platform an organization of his developed. He’s clearly laying the groundwork for a run for the Presidency in the future.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh gave the keynote address in support of John McCain’s candidacy, including a story about how McCain worked to try to peacefully resolve a standoff with a Montana militia under the condition that his involvement not be publicized. The more I learn about McCain, the more I respect him.
Currently, State Senator Gary Simpson is giving an address placing Mike Castle’s name in nomination for the convention endorsement. As I’ve often felt at past conventions, why do we need to go through the whole rigmarole for Castle? We know he’s running, we know he’ll be endorsed. I think Castle would get the delegates more enthused if he just bypassed it all and saved us some time rather than going through multiple speeches and a rally. State Representative Debbie Hudson just began her seconding address. A nomination speech, plus two seconding speeches, plus a rally, plus an acceptance speech is a bit much for an endorsement that’s not in doubt.
In terms of other bloggers, I’ve seen, but not had the chance to speak to, Dave Burris and David Anderson. Elbert of That’s Elbert with an “E” had told me he would be stopping by, but I haven’t seen him. And Tyler Nixon just shook my hand as I was typing the prior paragraph.
Updates as news warrants. I will likely be leaving early as I have a mid afternoon commitment in Wilmington.
UPDATE (10:12): In an upset, Castle was endorsed unanimously. While bouncing beach balls around during the rally, a chandelier was broken.
UPDATE (10:31): Castle spoke for almost 20 minutes. Michele Rollins was just introduced in her position as head of Winning Women here in Delaware and is speaking about Mike Castle some more. We didn’t hear enough about him already? She’s now switched to talking about picking good candidates and referred to “President McCain” in the present tense.
UPDATE (10:34): Nominations for Senate are beginning. John Davis, chairman of Kent County is placing the name of Tim Smith (I think) into nomination.
UPDATE (10:36): Oops. Davis zigged when I thought he would zag. He’s actually nomination Christine O’Donnell. He gave a long introduction without naming the name of his candidate and I guessed wrong.
UPDATE (10:41): I was going to make a comment about the rude people talking during Vance Phillip’s seconding speech for O’Donnell, but it seems to be O’Donnell’s people themselves doing it. Phillips made a comment: “I love both Christine O’Donnel and Tim Smith. How’s that for a politician?” I’m supporting O’Donnel, but Smith made an impressive talk to our Wilmington caucus this morning.
UPDATE (11:10): Turns out that a neighbor of mine is also a delegate from Wilmington. So I’m not the only Republican on my block. And she tells me that some of the guys across the street who I haven’t gotten to know yet are also Republicans.
UPDATE (11:15): Christine O’Donnell won the endorsement with 60.7% of the vote just over the 60% requirement. Smith has promised to drop out and support the endorsed candidate.
UPDATE (11:21): Liane Sorenson, while nominating John Brady for Insurance Commissioner said he graduated from “Sallies” I hate that. The name is Salesianum.
UPDATE (11:40): Dave Graham, candidate for Governor, couldn’t find anyone willing to place his name in nomination. As one person behind me said, referring to the filing fee, “There’s $5,300 well spent.” Mike Protack’s scheduled nominator couldn’t be found, so David Anderson, a scheduled seconder had to step up and fill the void.
UPDATE (11:43): Forgot to mention: Brud Lee, Judge Lee’s son knew my website when he saw my name tag. I’m not used to people knowing my blog. That’s quite surprising.
UPDATE (11:44): Protack’s scheduled nominator is not giving the second seconding speech. Apparently his granddaughter texted him and he had to respond. Certainly forgivable.
UPDATE (11:47): It was just said that Mike Protack doesn’t give up. Isn’t that exactly why so many people are annoyed with him? It’s the top of the ticket or nothing for him?
UPDATE (12:26): Bill Lee got the endorsement with over 80% of the delegate vote. We were discussing at one point if Protack would take the hint if he got crushed by a candidate who wasn’t even present and had earlier promised not to run. We decided probably not. If the hint were to be taken, it would have been taken by now.
UPDATE (12:37): While we’re going through the process of nominating and seconding speeches for Charlie Copeland for the Lieutenant Governorship, I figured I’d give an update on some other issues going on here. Terry Strine, the current state chairman, had decided to run for National Committeeman would resign the office of state chairman upon officially becoming committeeman at the national convention. There was to be an election to select his replacement after the regularly scheduled convention today. Tom Ross, current City Republican Chairman, was the only candidate for the election. (I’ve known Tom for almost a decade now and he’s actually the reason I came to my first convention since 2001 in order to support him in his race.) In the past week, Laird Stabler, III, son of the long-time National Committeeman, announced his intention to run for the position so long held by his father. Last night, the State Committee elected Stabler by a margin of about 5 or 7 votes. (I forget which right now.) So, we’re still up in the air as to what is going to happen as to if there will be an election for State Committee Chairman or not. I asked Tom Ross just after the vote on the gubernatorial endorsement and he only said an announcement would be coming soon. The announcement made just before the start of the endorsement process for Lieutenant Governor was to hold on until an announcement was made. That’s likely an attempt to keep people from leaving, as is often the problem when the Convention is at the beach, as it is today. (One Convention I was at actually lost its quorum due to people leaving since there were no important offices left to issue endorsements for.) Updates on the state chairman’s election (or not) as events warrant.
UPDATE (1:05): Terry Strine did resign. In a rather emotional address, he announced that would resign this coming Friday. He stated that he’d be doing the same activities in a private capacity that he would be doing as National Committeeman: raising funds, building ties to the national party and conservative organizations in DC, etc. He’s already agreed to serve as co-chair of McCain’s Delaware organization, and will be working on Charlie Copeland’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor and John Clatworthy’s campaign for State Senate, and extended an offer of assistance to other campaigns. He took a lot of grief in his tenure as State Chairman but it needs to be remembered that it’s a thankless job, without pay and many long hours that he took on when no one else would. He’s done a lot for the party and he will continue to do so in the future.
UPDATE (1:13): Tom Ross is officially the next chairman of the Delaware Republican Party. As I said above, I’ve known Tom for a decade now, and he’s a hard worker, fair and honest person who will do what is right and necessary to help rebuild and strengthen the Republican Party in Delaware. In his brief but fiery acceptance speech, he showed he’s not afraid to take it to the Democrats and he will do so as State Chairman.
And with that done, we’re adjourned!