Throughout the Republican National Convention (RNC), will be blogging on Patch during his time as a delegate at the RNC in Tamby Bay, FL. Stay tuned with inside scoops, unique perspectives and local angles on the biggest news coming from the convention.
When Republican and Democrat primary voters cast their ballots on April 3, they not only voted for their favorite presidential candidate but they also selected their party's convention Delegates and Alternates.
Republican voters in each of Maryland’s eight Congressional districts elect three Delegates and three Alternates to the Republican National Convention (RNC) for a total of 48 individuals elected by the voters. For the Republican primary voter the choice is always difficult because the names on the ballot are often not household names. The decision is complicated by the gerrymandered congressional districts that wander across multiple counties.
Fortunately the choice for the voter is simplified because each of the Presidential campaigns are permitted to choose the names of three Delegates and Alternates that are "affiliated" with their campaign.
Typically these select candidates are invested in that candidates campaign either financially or more typically through volunteering. The affiliation benefits the voter and the candidate because the Presidential candidates name is listed in parenthesis next to the Delegates and Alternates names. The campaign affiliation all but guarantees success for the candidates that are chosen by the presidential campaign that wins the Maryland primary.
Since June 17, 1856 when the Republican Party held their first official convention the number of delegates from Maryland has varied and even now each party has their own rules for calculating how many representatives are sent to the convention.
The 71 members of the current Maryland Delegation consists of the 24 Delegates and 24 Alternates chosen during the primary (8 Congressional x 3 each) as well as 10 Delegates and 10 Alternates elected at Large by the local Republican Party leadership from across the state. The remaining three Delegates are the State Party Chairman and the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman.
All of our members pay their own way and I know from personal experience that it is an expensive trip. Some of our folks took the long drive by car but I opted to fly at a cost of about $450.00 and then there was the convention fee which was another $450.00. The Maryland delegation is assigned to the Double Tree Hotel on Tampa Bay and I believe we are the only delegation in the hotel but are sharing the hotel with CNN. Because we reserved the hotel we are obligated to pay for all five nights at a cost of over $300.00 per night.
The total approaches $2400.00 assuming you do not share a room with a friend to defray the cost. Then you have other meals, snacks, and don't forget the obligatory political t-shirt, hat, or pins and buttons. The cost could easily approach $3000.00.
All of the costs add up but I can say from my 2008 experience that when you are on the floor of the convention and you have just listened to the Republican nominee give the acceptance speech followed by the balloon drop your last thought is about the money you spent. The excitement is palpable, the energy is invigorating, and you are left with a memory that will last a lifetime.
The experience is particularly surreal when you realize you were just part of the political history of the greatest country on earth and the longest surviving Constitutional Republic. I consider it an honor to represent Republicans in Maryland at our party’s convention. Stay tuned as I send updates this week from the convention and if you have questions or specific events you would like me to cover please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.