A diary from the GOP convention | AspenTimes.com

A diary from the GOP convention

Frieda Wallison
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

TAMPA, Fla. – This first installment of my convention diary was written on the plane taking my husband and me to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Checking in on the telephone with United on Aug. 20 for the latest on tropical storm Isaac, I was fortunate to speak with an agent who happened to be located in Clearwater, Fla. She assured me that if we traveled on Sunday, we would outrace the storm. Today, she said, would be dicey, so we should take our Sunday flight as scheduled. “Above all,” she said, “don’t cancel. We want you to come for the convention.” I briefly considered adding her to the Pitkin County Republicans email network!

In 2008, I was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Oddly, that convention also was disrupted by weather as Hurricane Gustav wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The Minnesota weather was fine, but GOP officials were uncomfortable with the idea that Republicans might be in St. Paul celebrating their nominees while the nation was focused on the plight of the people in the Gulf region. This year, Isaac is threatening the convention site itself, and once again, officials have postponed the start of the convention. It seems not to matter whether the Republicans go north or south.

I’m excited to be attending the 2012 convention as a Colorado delegate, having survived the arduous process of being elected from the 3rd Congressional District. This process is typical in so-called caucus states. It starts at the local level – the precinct caucuses. In Pitkin County, we have 10 precincts, and they all met in February in the gymnasium at Aspen High School to vote on delegates to the Pitkin County Republican Assembly. The Assembly was held a month later in the Pitkin County Library, and at that meeting, 20 delegates and 16 alternates were chosen to attend the State Convention and Congressional District Assemblies in Denver in April.

I am one of three elected delegates from the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Pitkin County. Approximately 150 people ran for delegate from our district, and approximately 750 delegates voted for the three delegates and three alternates to be sent to the national convention from the district. Similar votes took place in each of the other six congressional district assemblies, and then 12 delegates and 12 alternates were elected at large to complete the Colorado delegation, which also includes three state Republican officials.

To my knowledge, this marks the first time in 40 years that a Republican from Pitkin County has been elected a full delegate to the national convention. I owe this to the support of my fellow Pitkin County Republicans and others in the 29 counties comprising the 3rd Congressional District. It’s an honor to represent them and to participate in the nomination of our Republican standard bearers. I’m looking forward to the next few days in Tampa.

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