Saturday, March 29, 2008

From the Senate District Republican Convention

Here I sit in the upper balcony of the Delco Center, where the Senatorial District 14 Republican Convention is underway. I signed up to come as an alternate, mostly because I'm curious about the process, and it's the first time I've felt like my vote could make a difference. It turns out that all 9 precinct delegates showed up, so I won't be necessary, and I can leave at 11:00 without any guilt.
The first thing that struck me about this event was how many people are here. The line was actually out the door and around the corner. If people think that the Republican Party business is all wrapped up, they are wrong. There are a lot of people here with a lot of things to say, and there is not quite the unity of opinion that I had imagined.
A big part of the energy here is associated with vigor with which Ron Paul has mobilized people to affect the Republican party platform. He has rightly realized that he will not win the national nomination, but he has managed to put together a political platform and get a lot of people push his agenda through the proposal of resolutions. There may be a substantial attack on some of the traditional tenets of the Republican party.
Two things will happen today at this convention. Delegates will be chosen to represent our district at the state convention in Houston. Resolutions will be voted on. It's a much larger scale version of the cozy precinct level convention I blogged about earlier except at this event, 863 delegates showed up to this convention from 164 precincts. This is more than double the number present at the previous convention two years ago with most people raising hands when asked about first time attendance.
A big deal is the assignment of delegates, so the roll call and the sorting out of who is here determines the voting strength of each precinct. As there are anticipated to be some differences of opinion, they are actually very careful to get it all right. It seems a little ridiculous, but they deal with each little deviation and irregularity in front of everyone. A lot of other trivia (rules, etc.) gets voted on, and believe it or not, there is debate on this stuff.
I actually managed to miss the all of the voting on the resolutions due to another commitment, but I want to comment on a few things:
-I stood in the registration line for 45 minutes  next to Jim Hasik, who is running for State Representative for my district. I actually got to talk with him at length about several issues and found out that I agree with him on a lot of things. I think I'll vote for him.
-Also, Gov. Rick Perry spoke at the opening address to promote a resolution supporting the Boy Scouts of America. There was one heckler who was shushed by the crowd.
-There are a bunch of political groups associated with various issues here passing out fliers, stickers, donuts, etc. For example, from my vantage, I can see Texas Alliance for Life,, Ron Paul Revolution, "Stop Domain Subsidies", "Vote Zimmerman", and so forth. Lots to chew on, and a fairly wide variety of opinions. Unfortunately, it's time for me to go, so I'm going to miss the end of the debate on how to fairly assign 162 delegates among 164 precincts of unequal sizes, a debate I don't fully understand. With this level of debate and nitpicking, I think I'm pretty comfortable with the process. At the rate they're going now, it will be late afternoon by the time all this is done. Too bad I'll miss the fun.
Thanks for reading!

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