|The Tampa Bay Times Forum - Ready to go.|
Greetings from Tampa Florida! Over the next several days, I will posting from the Republican National Convention. My goal is to give you an inside view of a national political convention.
Yes, I am supporting Mitt Romney for President (I am not jumping on the band wagon, I supported Romney in 08'), but, I am not going to write heavily partisan commentary - you can get that anywhere. I am going to try to add texture and feel to the next several days. Answer basic questions, what goes on at a national convention? what happens on the floor? What does it cost to go to the convention? Who goes to the convention and why? Do conventions even matter anymore? So feel free to email in questions and I will try to answer them (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I arrived in Tampa yesterday, the Convention doesn't actually start until Monday, but Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and I were asked to serve on one of the standing committees - the Committee on Credentials. That means I had to be in Tampa Thursday night for an organizational meeting and then Friday for an all-day meeting and possibly Saturday if we don't finish our work.
What does the Committee on Credentials do? We certify that the 2,286 delegates and the 2,125 alternate delegates attending the convention are lawfully appointed/elected to be there.
This is usually a mundane but critical task that should take a couple of hours to complete. However, this year for the first time in many years, we had several delegate challenges from factions in Maine ,Oregon, and Oklahoma, most of these challenges were from Ron Paul supporters who wanted to be delegates and felt that in some way they were not heard at their respective state conventions.
The Committee on Credentials listens to both sides and we act as a jury of sorts to determine who gets to attend the convention. We heard the three appeals today and all of the initial rulings made by the Republican National Committee were upheld.
Tomorrow we will be greeting the delegates and the alternates as they arrive from all over the country.
Right now, all eyes are on Tropical Storm Isaac.