AZGOP Convention Scuttlebutt Part 4

Part Three Here

The Law Enforcement And First Responders

I also took the time in my non-stop day to talk to any and all support staff I saw, and some first responders and the food truck people. There was a moderate amount of police presence, both local police and the County Police. They were all friendly and pleasant, and many were wearing vests under their uniform shirts. all were armed with ;pistols, tasers, batons and a flashlight that I saw, though most of the Mesa police didn’t have vests.

They walked in pairs, with a Mesa police officer teamed typically with a county sheriff. Toward the end of the convention when a delegate began loudly complaining about “fraud” because of the multi-slating and the way the electronic voting website displayed final results, 4 pairs of them arrived in the main foyer rapidly, though nothing happened and they dispersed shortly thereafter.

The fire fighters, for some reason, tended to congregate around the restrooms–go figure. They were also friendly, and in my small talk all of the law enforcement officers expressed confidence there would be no “problems”. There was no security screening of any kind, no searches of purses, metal detectors or anything else. I don’t believe anyone snuck a firearm in–but they sure could have.

The Support Staff

The janitorial staff at the convention were also friendly, and of course had no idea where anyone was or where any particular events were happening–though a couple did complain about the way various ground teams treated them, and the general and inexplicable shortage of trash cans, everywhere–something delegates also noticed.

The majority of support staff were frantically emptying the few trash cans their were outside and inside, but they still managed to keep the bathrooms clean.

Quite a few of the support staff I spoke to mentioned they were glad for the “extra hours” and actually hoping the convention would be as long as prior ones have apparently been. By far, the support staff were Trump voters, and number one reasons being JOBS and the wall. I made a few remarks to one janitor on trash detail, and we would probably still be talking if I hadn’t had to come home LOL.

Quite a few of the support staff I talked to were surprised (and pleased) that I had noticed them at all–one actually asked me if I was speaking to him, and when I said yes, he told me at the end of our short conversation it was the first time he could remember anyone at ANY event he worked speaking to him in conversation rather than just seeking information, and the only time he remembered anyone thanking him for the work he did.

My take away on that is simple–I’m ashamed of myself, as I thought about it and realized the only time I ever take the time to exchange a few pleasantries with support staff anywhere is for a specific purpose, myself. Whether that purpose is information gathering or in the course of cleaning up after a special event where we sold kettle korn, it’s never “just because”. It’s unsettling to think about.

Concessions And Vending Trucks

The concessions staff were friendly and busy, but not overly so. We could drink and eat on the convention floor, surprisingly enough, but the lack of trash cans was really odd. I literally counted less than a dozen in the foyer and convention floor area, one 55 gallon one with each food truck (health code requirement, probably belonged to the vendors themselves), and less than a half dozen scattered elsewhere. The concessions people I spoke to said they had stopped paying attention to what goes on at events like the convention years ago–most had been working for the convention center for quite a while.

The healthy food truck people–like all of their customers I spoke to, were Cruz voters who had a Cruz bumper sticker on the truck–which might account for the fact that every single one of their customers I asked was a Cruz supporter. None of the food vendors I saw were wearing campaign gear or stickers of any kind, and they didn’t particularly want to talk politics–but the three I talked to also said that the convention was the best day they had “in a long time”.

I will say that from a food vending point of view, the GOP had almost exactly the right number of food trucks–the most they could have added was one more. All the trucks were running flat out at full speed all during lunch, and I would guess most were almost out of food by the time lunch was over. The mix of food was acceptable–barbecue, quesadillas and healthy food outside, the typical event venue concession food inside, typically priced.

As a 10.00 food voucher got you a lunch item and a drink, I’d say the food vendors realized a decent though not extravagant profit from the event, which is a good thing. We know from experience how dicey it can be to make a profit at a “small” event like this, especially one with a cash price for tickets attached.

The Final Take Aways:

  1. The AZGOP did an acceptable, though not amazing job, with this convention. They should have just used printed paper ballots and had everyone slated, or not slated at all and let us actively stump. At the very least we should have been allowed to (or REQUIRED TO) stump in our breakout room before the first vote.
  2. The Trump ground team didn’t meet my expectations for this event, at all. The campaign needs to address the ground team issue NOW, well before California.
  3. The Cruz Crew were insufferably polite and friendly–unless you challenged their guy with your concerns (my other half was concern trolling, and a female Cruz Crew member told him to shut up and leave her alone when SHE butted into HIS conversation with 2 male Cruz Crew members in the first place LOL.
  4. The Kasich team might as well have stayed home. I think they outnumbered his supporters.
  5. The electronic voting SNAFU was idiotic–they shouldn’t have just assumed that 98% of convention delegates would come armed with tablets or smart phones. They should have had at least 2 rooms and 50 computers or more set up for that–or used the danged paper ballots.
  6. MORE TRASH CANS would have been nice.
  7. Better organization of credentialing, More proactive engagement by the GOPer operatives with the delegates. This is where the shortage of precinct seat holders was evident–as they are usually on the front line at a convention, shepherding any of their precinct members through the process or helping those who don’t have a precinct seat holder around.
  8. The GOPer convention volunteer squad was on the small side, and not well coordinated either. Many of them didn’t know what was up during the second credentialing, and couldn’t answer other questions either.

It could have been far worse, of course, but it also could have been far better in terms of helping new participants understand how the party and process works. The few of us who had some prior experience were just too danged busy to coordinate our efforts. It was basically going from one small crisis to another, and hoping others were doing the same.

Considering how Graham was touting the outreach efforts from the last election and taking credit for the unprecedented growth of the party in THIS cycle, the actions came nowhere near supporting the rhetoric he was spouting. Getting people involved in the process for the vote is great. But KEEPING them involved is the only thing that can lead to reform.

Of course, the GOPers have no real interest in informed voters, when it comes to controlling party platforms, rules and direction–that would derail their gravy train.




AZGOP Convention Scuttlebutt Part 3

Part Two Here…

The Delegate Side Of The Fence

In between interrogating the party operatives at all levels, I also talked to a large number of miscellaneous delegates from all counties, of course. The delegates were mostly older white people, though about 1/4 to 1/3rd or so were Hispanic (judging by appearance and names), and another 10% or so were minority. The delegate pool was about 60/40 in favor of men, not unusual.

The delegates were also heavily weighted towards the first time crowd–far more than one would have seen at conventions decades ago when I attended them in other states as a guest. I spent a lot of time with newbies, for a reason–they had the least idea what was going on, and they were the most involved and upset people in the room.

I didn’t run into a single “newbie” that was a Cruz or Kasich supporter–they were ALL Trump supporters. My other half in the guest section (and there were about 300 guests) only talked to three Cruz supporters and found no Kasich people at all, the rest were Trump.

Common Delegate Complaints/Views Expressed

By far the most common complaint I heard was that the GOP was “stealing delegates”. Anyone who follows this blog knows that is essentially a false narrative the media and GOP are pushing to try and get people to stage an uprising in Cleveland, so I spent a great deal of time leading people to this blog on their smartphones or tablets, or giving them my business card.

Many also complained about how hard it was to find information on the process to begin with, and confusion on what would happen. I will give Graham his due on this, he DID spend a decent amount of time explaining to people what was going on….But again I spent a lot of time directing people to this blog and giving them my email for specific questions.

The Cruz delegates that I spoke to had very different aims from the Trump delegates–their aim being to get delegate slots by any means, of course.Most of them were long time GOPer voters/operatives who had convention experience, so the Cruz Crew had it easy at our convention–they just took advantage of the natural ignorance and emotion of the Trump supporters.

A lot of Trump delegates, sadly, “outed” themselves at the very beginning by wearing Trump gear, so while I noted names and voted for them and encouraged others to do so, we DID lose a lot of potential votes as the GOPers (and the ground teams) were pushing the “vote the slate” narrative, and making sure that as few identified Trump delegates were on the slate as possible.

The Common Misconceptions

Many delegates believed the canard the AZGOP posted in their emails and on the website about the convention wrapping up by 3:30 or so. I was shocked we were almost wrapped up at 5:30, myself, and I have been to previous conventions where we were still going as late as 10:00 at night, or had to extend to a second day. NEVER TAKE THE PARTY’S TIME ESTIMATIONS AS ACCURATE. If my physical stamina had held out I would have stayed until the very end, and then attempted to arrange a group meet up with people at a nearby burger place after.

because many people had believed the party rah-rah, quite a few delegates signed out after the first ballot, which led to having to credential a few dozen or more alternate delegates, which is NEVER a good thing.

A convention is the single best opportunity anyone has to gather first hand knowledge, experience, intelligence, party contacts, and in some cases make business deals. You WANT the convention to take a reasonable amount of time.

Many were also confused by the inevitable screw ups and inefficiency–especially the old time party operatives, and the rural delegates and operatives. Screw ups are a fact of life at an event like this, but if the AZGOP had just stuck with paper ballots and either didn’t slate at all or let each of us slate ourselves and declare candidate support when we were selected (and printed that on the ballots), it would have been much smoother–and we would have been able to effectively grab EVERY SINGLE SEAT by multi-slating.

Multi-slating, if you can communicate the plan privately to the ground team and other delegates, is the single best strategy to grab every seat in a slated convention setting.

Analysis Of The Ground Game In Mesa–AN INDICTMENT

One of Trump’s strengths is his populist support–in terms of getting the vote. However, it’s a serious weakness when you’re sending a bunch of newbies to a convention, or your ground support is made up of people who don’t communicate the most effective old school strategies to ALL delegates well in advance of the convention. Or ground teams that are not long time involved voters in the party–and former convention participants.

Much of the ground team I met fell in the last category–very little or no prior convention/campaign experience, and effectively none in a heavily contested race. The “big guys” on the ground here weren’t in evidence, either, though they apparently participated in the at large slating.

When you’re dealing with a bunch of nervous angry newbies to politics, the FIRST people you meet at the ground team table should be people who have attended many former conventions, under all circumstances, who are confident, supportive, and friendly. Sadly, I actually heard one ground team member tell a nervous delegate with simple question it wasn’t their job to “hold her hand”, and to “google it”–before shoving a slate into her hand and telling her to just vote the slate and ignore anything else. I immediately introduced myself when she left the table, welcomed her to the process, answered her question and helped her find where she needed to be.


Had the rules allowed the experienced ground team members to address the convention, or those people had been out in the delegate pool coordinating, things would have gone far better in terms of final delegate results. JUST HANDING SOMEONE PAPER AFTER PAPER AND TELLING THEM TO VOTE THE SLATE AND DON’T GET CONFUSED OR LISTEN TO ANYONE ELSE IS NOT PRODUCTIVE.

If how our convention was handled by the ground team is ANY indication of conventions elsewhere, it’s little wonder we’re having delegate issues. I spoke to almost every ground team member I could find at one point or another, and well over half had ZERO convention experience. And sadly, quite a few had what could be called “attitude” as well–while under normal circumstances, nailing your flag to the mast and being loudly defiant may work to some extent, it’s a miserable excuse for a strategy in the current situation.

Being curt, confrontational, overbearing or condescending isn’t productive either. When you hear other Trump supporters in the bathroom expressing confusion, hurt and anger because THE CANDIDATE’S GROUND TEAM MEMBERS ARE “BITCHES” OR “ASSHOLES”, YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM.

I’ll be the first to admit that after you have to reassure your 30th or 40th person on the very same issue as the last 30 or 40 people, or answer the same basic Politics 101 question for the 20th time in 2 hours, it’s a little bit wearing. Had I been able to find a quiet corner during lunch and round up a large number of people, I would have tabled my own damned meeting and given everyone a pep talk, some support, and allayed fears and confusion.

AND I AM NOT EVEN AN OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN WORKER. But I couldn’t find that quiet corner, and when I did suggest that to three different ground team members, they basically patted me on the head and brushed me off. I don’t know where the campaign found these yo-yo’s–but Trump was poorly served, at least in my part of the convention. I didn’t talk to every ground team member–but I did talk to a majority, as did my other half (who wasn’t impressed either, and he is not politically active).

This game has rules that most people don’t understand. It also is a very different experience to convention with all or majority newbies rather than seasoned operatives and involved party members.


WE ARE IN A SERIOUS FIGHT HERE. If you have a convention coming and are listed as a delegate, DO NOT OUT YOURSELF.

WEAR STICKERS FROM EVERY CANDIDATE IN THE RACE–or only local candidate stickers like your Senate/House contenders.



Any seasoned campaigner will tell you the single most important thing to do is make sure you get the votes, and the delegate slot. “Voting the slate” is ONLY a good idea IF YOU KNOW EVERYONE ON IT. In THIS game, you’re essentially playing “Liar’s Poker”. Slates can change dozens of times between the first and the moment you mark the ballot, as different party operatives work behind the scenes to get an advantage.

If your convention rules allow you to speak to your district and directly stump, QUIETLY, BEFORE YOU SPEAK, LET KEY TRUMP TEAM MEMBERS OR OTHER DELEGATES KNOW YOU WILL BE SPEAKING GOPER. If the rules don’t allow a speech, it’s up to you to introduce yourself to as many people as possible in your congressional district before the convention starts, and during it before the voting.YOU NEED TO SELL YOURSELF AS A DELEGATE. 

Had I been more focused on actually going to Cleveland as a delegate than building a ground network in AZ, I WOULD have gotten chosen by any means possible–because I KNOW THE RULES. But right now, we all need to also start focusing on building state networks so we can co-opt the GOP and give it to Trump when he gets elected.

I’m sorry if my bald assessment of the ground team in Mesa offends some people. But I feel it is perfectly in order, considering my first hand experience, and the importance of upcoming conventions. I also took the time to write an email to the Trump campaign stating basically what I wrote above, and telling them politely that this is an issue that needs addressing–not the least of which because after Trump wins the nomination, his supporters will be needed to campaign during the run up to the general election. And more than a few of the Trump supporters I met, like myself, had been volunteering on the phone banks and using social media to do what they can for Trump–and were somewhat regretting doing so after yesterday.

More scuttlebutt and a final takeaway to follow, next….

AZGOP Mesa Convention Scuttlebutt Part 2

Part 1–some background color

The other half took the time to talk to sheriff Babaeu and Kelli Ward first, as I had assigned him the “local candidate” tables primarily. I did that as he doesn’t have my experience level at observation, nor can he retain as many factoids as I can without taking notes. Since I also had obligations at the convention and he didn’t it made the most sense.

At the Sheriff’s table, the general atmosphere was one of gratitude for Babaeu’s speaking out on the illegal issue, and expressions from people in Pima and other counties that wished their sheriffs were more like him.

At Kelli Ward’s table, people were thanking her for running against Mc Cain–some of the names my other half recorded in his notes were : Mc Shame, Mc Slime, The Carpetbagger, Mc Fraud, and Mc Asshat. The sentiment level he recorded trended towards unqualified support for Kelli because of her personal voting record at state level, though he did note that about 1/4 of the people who signed her petition slate were in the #anyonebutmccain category, with a little over 1 in 10 not even bothering to find out her positions, just signing her petition to primary John. Both of us heard at least several dozen people stating if Kelli lost the primary against Mc Cain, they WILL vote for Kirkpatrick (the Democrat) to get rid of him anyway–talk the AZGOP is completely ignoring, or joking about (at least publicly).

The GOPer Insider View On MC Cain

Interestingly enough, the scuttlebutt among the actual party operatives was still trending towards what I heard directly from one at my GOPer meeting in Tucson–that Kelli has “peaked”, and Mc Cain is getting a last term before they “transition to his replacement smoothly”. This was confirmed in different ways in several dozen conversations with operatives from all counties and all levels of the party. Many of them expressed dissatisfaction with MC Cain, but still stuck with the party line on the issue.

The overall opinion of Mc Cain is that he’s no “war hero”, and even if he were, that’s ancient history BTW. I heard over a dozen jokes and quips about how the vets and servicemen and women would REALLY feel if they knew just how little Mc Cain does for the military in actuality.He’s seen as an average Senator whose pork deliveries to our state have been slacking off a little too much in the last decade or so. The AZGOP is apparently now looking at and grooming Flake to up the pork level we get, and to be more proactive in the nest few years leading to his run for a second term.

There was also mention of Mc Cain’s son’s steady progress toward his Senate seat….

The GOPer To Do List, Flake, And Maricopa County

I overheard several gentlemen discussing a “To-Do” list for Flake while they were in a side room setting up things for the electronic voting–more technically supervising the staff doing the set up. Some of the items I heard mentioned included the new light rail/street car project in Tempe should lead to some “revitalization” money for certain enterprise zones, selling off some more land that one Indian tribe or another will likely declare is “sacred”, and some improvements and upgrades to Maricopa County services.

It’s interesting to note that all the pork talk I heard going on here and there as part of To Do lists for Mc Cain and Flake only involved money for Maricopa County in any large amount. Some guests from Graham County Yavapai Countyand Gila County were trying to get attention paid to some projects they wanted funded–small potatoes in both cases, under 10 million dollars–and were getting glad handed, given business cards, and moved on their merry way.

I saw no indication at all that the AZGOP realizes how disenfranchised the rural counties are feeling these days, and how high the resentment level is in outlying areas against the main party. This will work to our advantage if Arizonans in rural counties will actually GET ACTIVE IN THEIR LOCAL COUNTY GOPS.

But the main takeaway is that the AZGOP is confident their activities against Kelli Ward and in favor of Mc Cain will work.

The reasoning is important here–they are relying on the precinct level operatives to get out the vote against Kelli in our primary. While nobody flat out stated that the AZGOP was deliberately stumping for Mc Cain and suppressing Ward, the “you know how the game is played” comment was common. I was able to capitalize on my family’s long history in Massachusetts and national politics by trotting out some juicy (verifiable) family anecdotes about a famous relative’s “Presidential Walk” several decades ago. They aren’t public knowledge, but easy to check out if you have political connections.

And NO–we are NOT Kennedys! My ancestors go back to the Mayflower and the Boston Brahmin half of the family tree is tied up in the famous poem:

And this is good old Boston,

The home of the bean and the cod,

Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,

And the Cabots talk only to God.

I stay as far away from my Brahmin relatives as humanly possible–but occasionally their antics come in very handy LOL.

Part three coming up…

AZGOP Mesa Convention Scuttlebutt

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….

More coming in the next post.



Insider Report: The AZGOP Convention: Part 1

Arrival:  7:30 a.m.

After staying in a local Mesa hotel at 50% off (courtesy of the AZGOP) I arrived at the Convention Center promptly at 7:30 a.m. for credentialing. As a delegate from Congressional District 3, Legislative District 3, Pima County, I presented my voter registration card and picture ID, signed in and got the first ballot of the day (and my 10.00 lunch voucher). Our section was in the very front, and I took a seat in the 2nd row knowing full well the unwritten rules governing seating at conventions. I wanted to be among the higher ups to listen for valuable information, and along the way I hooked up with a Trump ground team member and some of my fellow 3,3 delegates.

We were given the “Trump Slate” by a representative and told to “just vote the slate, and don’t listen to anyone”. The problem inherent in this instruction became rather evident, in short order, as there were few names on the slate I could personally identify as vetted (by ME) Trump supporters–not to mention when we read the rules for this convention we discovered that the AZGOP had decided not to allow delegate candidates to speak for even three minutes each in our caucuses or canvas for votes for the at-large selection later in the day. The reason given was “time constraints due to an usually high number of delegate candidates”.

The Greatest GOPer Show On Earth Begins:

For those unfamiliar with this form of political theater, some background is in order. All the candidates of any type have table sat up and are passing out bumper stickers, signs, and information. The higher echelon party members have the fanciest name tags and are the most dressed up–in AZ’s case, big brushed gold badges in the shape of the state. Next are standard plastic name tags coupled with more casual attire, then simple lanyards with your delegate voting credential card. Typically, the groups will tend to separate while people are getting settled, but as I dragged some of my fellow 3,3’s to the front of our section, we got in among the intermediate name tags and a handful of “gold tags”.

The Convention opened with a dual invocation–the first gentleman giving a Hebrew Prayer for peace (properly sung with beautiful pronunciation, followed by the English translation), then an invocation by a middle of the road Christian. A trumpter/bugler then played the Stars Spangled Banner (we sang), and some children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and the preamble to the Constitution. The Party head’s daughter Faith Graham did a Kid’s News report showing how uninformed the average voter attending the state fair is, accompanied by a well stated plea for us to elect the right people “for the kids, who do care”.

Robert Graham, Head GOPer, gave a rah-rah speech, and explained the basic process, then it was hurry up–and wait. And wait some more, while the credentialing team made sure we had a quorum. Graham turned the floor over to a professional parliamentarian, causing a minor ruckus as people pointed out “the rules” shouldn’t allow that, and the point was not well taken.

The First Vote:

The Trump slate was updated twice while we were waiting, then we went to cast our paper ballots–one for delegates, one for party chair people for Cleveland. Bruce Ash was running unopposed, with three women vying for the chairwoman slot–so that contest ended in a run off. As we had no opportunity to talk to anyone except fot one gentleman who introduced himself to all of us in 3,3, (Thank you Mr. Ortiz, Sr.!), I had to rely on my notes from the meeting where we all got picked to go to Mesa. On that first ballot, out of the 6 of us 4 were know Trump supporters in my area, two weren’t.

HOW these people got slated will be in Post 2, as it was a very odd series of events all the way around. By now it was lunch time, and long lines formed at the food trucks in the 90 degree cloudy weather, and after eating people were making the rounds of the local candidates’ tables. I disposed of my trash and began making connections, starting with the gold badges and working my way down the line.

I began the day with about 150 business cards, and bought home less than 10, so a decent day–the type of networking that I did and others were doing will also be in the second post. When we went back in, we found we had a run off to deal with when it came to our chair women for Cleveland, and we had to go back out for the 2nd credentialing. The voting process is extremely tightly controlled, as you have to re-credential and get your badge initialed to participate in the second vote. And it was on the second vote of the day things got interesting in GOPerland.

So They Misplaced My Entire Group–Things Happen LOL.

Everyone was outside at once, and it was badly controlled mayhem. The Cruz ground team had their second slates already to go, and I grabbed one (to insure I wouldn’t accidentally vote for a Cruz supporter). And Lo and Behold–no sign for 3,3. So we were milling around, and half of the other delegates couldn’t find their credential people either. According to my local chairman, they accidentally left him off the voting lists in the January meeting–they seem to always mess up something about my district *sigh*.

After almost twenty minutes, we were directed back inside, and finally got some spare paper ballots for the second vote and the runoff–plus a sealed plain envelope, with a slip of paper in it. When everyone was finally back in the main hall, we were then directed to pass the paper ballots to the center of our rows–as we would be voting electronically. At that point, we STILL didn’t have an at-large Trump delegate slate in hand.

Coming Next: GOPers On Parade…..