This will be a mishmash of interesting comments, observances, and other small doings in GOPerLand from Mesa, in no particular order–though I will loosely group them into groups to give you the overall picture:
Mesa And The Convention Venue Physical Location:
The Mesa Convention Center itself was easy to find–but the much touted “ample parking” at the facility turned out to be woefully inadequate. We arrived promptly at 7:30, and found all parking lots full and the streets and side streets lined with cars everywhere it was legal to park. The other half had to drop me off and ended up parking a 1/2 block away.
I was doing a general bumper sticker survey at all times driving around Mesa, and in the time there I saw 134 Trump stickers, 51 Cruz, 9 Paul, 19 Kasich, 3 Carson,37 Hillary and 54 Bernie. I also saw while leaving an additional 59 Trump stickers that were brand new or being installed as we were navigating the traffic jam.
Kelli Ward stickers outnumbered Mc Cain stickers over 2 to 1.
Engagement Levels At Candidate Tables During Lunch:
When I got lunch, the other half and I used out tally counters (the small clicky gizmos you can buy to count things, we own several LOL). From my vantage point in the Quesadilla line I noted that those attending the convention went for the two Barbecue options first, followed by switching to the Quesadilla truck when the BBQ lines got too long. The “organic/healthy food” truck got less than 1/3rd the traffic, but the line was consistent.
I was monitoring Cruz/Trump/Kasich while I had him watching the local candidates. The Cruz Crew had about 50% more total volunteers than Team Trump–but about 5 times as many people were either buying Trump/MAGA gear made by others from the vendor selling fan-designed gear or “Hillary for Prison 2016” shirts than buying Cruz gear. There were a few forlorn looking Kasich shirts being ignored at the shirt vendor’s spot also :-).
In order of popularity, the Tee Shirt Sold Tally from the lunch break:
Trump/MAGA shirts (4 designs available)–259 Adult, plus 26 child/teen
Hillary for Prison 2016–127, 2 different styles, 3 different colors. The round neck tees outsold the Vee necked ones by slightly more than 2 to 1. The guy I was watching ran out of Hillary for Prison Bumper stickers and buttons entirely.
Cruz shirts of any kind: 78. All one style (round/crew neck), 3 different colors.
Kasich: 11. The poor guy even tried hanging them in front, they were ignored.
No “build the Wall” shirts were available–he had sold out entirely, and they were on back order, before this event while doing other local events. The tee shirt guy had 2 helpers, and almost nobody took their gear in bags–everyone was just putting them right on over their clothes.
The Candidate Table Counts:
Trump table: 217, average stay at table 5 minutes.
Cruz table: 97, average stay 16 minutes (more on that in next post)
Kasich table:41, average stay 2 minutes (more on that also)
For the locals–
Kelli Ward table: 319–and Kelli herself was working all the lunch truck lines in between working the table. Average stay was close to 15 minutes, so a constant crush that caused her staffers to try and move people out into groups to answer questions.
Mc Cain: 98–and staffers were visibly working to keep people at the table, as the average stay was less than 3 minutes, while the average stay at Kelli’s table was just under 11 minutes.
Babaeu: 121–his came in “waves”, when he was there, and the average stay was 9 minutes.
In The Lunch Lines:
Talked to an Alfalfa farmer from Buckeye, Cruz voter–polite, nice guy, convinced Cruz was a spiritual person, Constitutional conservative, and statesman. Overheard three women (2 of them Hispanic) vociferously defending Trump from another Cruz guy at the healthy food truck next to us. The guy they were tag teaming on was a mid twenties Latino male, and they ranged in age from mid twenties to over 55.
Talked to a nice minister who was, though not an official Cruz Crew operative, trying to engage any passer by with the information that Cruz was America’s only protection from the Tribulation ( anyone who votes Cruz will be bumped to the top of the Rapture List, everyone)….Which led to a nice argument right next to me as I ate between himself (a Pre-Tribulation Rapture believer) and FIVE other people, 3 male 2 female, all in their mid/late 40’s divided into 2 Mid-Tribulation Rapture believers (one of each gender), and 3 Post Tribulation Rapture people.
The result of the rather convoluted debate was 6 people thumbing through different versions of pocket Bibles, and slinging verses at each other as they walked away (some other people had intervened and asked them to please take the fight further down the sidewalk, they were organic food Yuppie types). The main takeaway from the argument was that regardless of the timing of the Rapture, they all had to unite and pray very hard that the delegates chose rightly.
The healthy food line (which I strolled by slowly to get to a convenient trash can) was almost universally Cruz Country at the time I monitored it, while the best BBQ line was nearly all Trump. They were one upping each other with a long list of touching, patriotic, and heartwarming moments from the Cruz campaign to date.
Inside, I loitered by the concession stand, which is where about 75% of the higher ups were eating, and complaining about the “Secret Star Chamber” slating process, speculating on who had been involved, and gleefully predicting “a bloodbath” during the at-large delegate vote.
They were also chuckling over the fact that only about 15% of the delegates had been slated as supporting any candidate–and the vast majority of those were “names”. Nobody asked me who I supported–had they I would have asked to be slated for everyone, and had advised all the delegates I had connected with to do the same.
It should be noted I have yet to find ANY unknown delegate who was ASKED who we supported for slating purposes at all…..
In the Ladies’ Room:
Of course the ladies’ room was mobbed, all the time *sigh*. Most of the women I met were mid thirties or older, white or Hispanic, though I did also meet 6 Asian women and 2 Black women. Over 1/2 the women I talked to were Cruz supporters–but I converted a group of 8 to Trump when I showed them the interview with Heidi Cruz from some time ago on one of their tablets.
They, like me, couldn’t imagine any “normal” woman conducting business on a Blackberry while in labor–or saying it was great to be able to give up a spare bedroom to live in help so she could still work 80 hours AND support her husband’s career despite having very small children. When we moved out of the entry way back into the convention hall they were already busily spreading that information to friends….