This summer in August I will travel to Tampa, Florida to be a delegate at the Republican National Convention. It will be my first time serving in this capacity. It has been an interesting process to be selected and it wasn’t an automatic consideration due to my role as the Chairman of Alameda County GOP.
I was a supporter of Mitt Romney for President starting in early March. I accepted the role of the Romney Campaign Alameda County Chair, which is mostly a volunteer recruitment role and communications link. I received an email in March from the Romney Campaign offering an application to be a delegate. The due date for submission was March 31.
California decides its delegate status on a proportional basis, a change that occurred in 2004 from a ‘winner-take-all’ state. The proportionality is decided based on congressional districts. There are 53 congressional districts in our state and when Presidential candidates face off in our state primary, they ‘win’ the delegates in each of the congressional districts where they have the majority vote of their party’s voters. In my case, I live in Oakland in the current
9th Congressional District and Mitt Romney won this congressional district,, earning three delegates from here. Actually, by the time the primary election was held on June 5, Mitt Romney was the Republican candidate with enough delegates from prior state primary elections to be the GOP’s presumed candidate, and he won all 53 congressional district delegates in CA.
In addition to the three delegates from each CD, three alternates are selected to attend from each district. And, delegates are permitted to invite a guest – it could be a spouse or a good friend or relative. Lastly, there are 13 super delegates in CA which include the state party chairman, the two national committeemen (our two state representatives to the Republican National Committee) and ten delegates at large.
All of this means that California’s delegation will be the largest in attendance with 172 delegates, 169 alternates plus guests. Our delegation will fill The Tradewinds Hotel on St. Petersburg Beach on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and we will be shuttled to the convention center in Tampa during the convention.
Events for the California Delegation start on Saturday night, Aug. 25, with a Beach Party at The Tradewinds for our delegation, a kind of ‘ice-breaker’ for everyone to get to know each other. The convention opening reception will be on Sunday night, Aug 26 and the convention business officially opens on Monday, Aug 27, and goes through Thursday, Aug 31. On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 31, will be the 'big event' at the convention center when Mitt Romney will accept his party's nomination and the big balloon drop will occur.
All delegates to the National Conventions are self-funding, so personally the first step is to decide if one’s budget will allow for airfare, hotel room, delegate expenses and personal expenses. I learned that I would be a delegate approximately two weeks before the primary election, with the caveat that it would be confirmed after the California primary on June 5 when Mitt Romney won the district. I was aware that behind the scenes the Romney campaign had ‘vetted me’ by doing some background checking and asking other Republicans
that were better known if I would be a reliable ‘pledged delegate’.
Recently when I received confirmation of my delegate status I was sent login credentials to a special website set up just for our delegation. That’s where I could find forms for reserving one of the rooms at the hotel and get an application for a guest, however not before I sent in my $900 delegate fee which will cover shuttle and delegation meals while we are together.
There will be a delegate meeting in Southern CA on July 28 where I will fly to for the day, be photographed for a delegate badge, and attend an orientation about what to expect when we get to Tampa. I’m looking forward to what will be for me a once in a lifetime experience.