DARKE COUNTY — Beginning Monday, the eyes of the nation, and possibly the world, will be fixed on Cleveland, hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena.
Drama surrounds the gathering. Republican Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee, brings 1,543 delegates to the convention — exceeding the 1,237 delegates needed to grab the nomination. Some of the “old school” GOP stalwarts, however, are not necessarily on board with his candidacy, which has led to speculation that there may be a move to deny the New York businessman the brass ring.
There was also the speculation regarding Trump’s pick for his vice presidential running mate in the days leading up to the convention. On July 14, however, it was announced (or leaked) by numerous press sources that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be the ticket’s number two, instead of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Trump had scheduled a news conference for Friday at 11 a.m. to announce his pick, but then postponed the event due to the terrorist attack that occurred in Nice, France, Thursday night.
Further, there is the drama that may occur outside the convention, with liberal activists of many stripes vowing to protest and quite possibly disrupt the proceedings. A heavy law enforcement presence is expected to keep the peace.
There is little drama in Darke County, nestled within Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, which is friendly turf for Republicans. It might be an understatement to say Darke County is “Republican-friendly.” The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the vote in the county — 52 years ago — was incumbent Lyndon Johnson during his 1964 landslide victory over Republican challenger, Senator Barry Goldwater.
During the March 15 GOP primary, Darke County bucked the trend in Ohio during the primary season, as 62 of Ohio’s 88 counties went for Kasich over Trump.
Voters in the county gave Trump 42.71 percent of its vote. Ohio Governor John Kasich was second among county voters with 39.41 percent, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz third with 13.89 percent. Overall, Kasich won Ohio’s 66 GOP delegates with 46.8 percent of the vote with Trump receiving 35.6 percent.
Despite losing the Buckeye State, Trump went on to win most subsequent contests and enters Cleveland as the de facto GOP nominee.
As Kasich won the “winner-take-all” primary in March, all of Ohio’s 66 delegates are required to cast their vote for the governor on the first ballot. In the unlikely event that Trump is not nominated on the first ballot, delegates are free to switch their vote to another candidate on subsequent ballots.
Delegate’s representing Ohio’s 8th Congressional District at the convention are Ohio Representative Timothy Derickson, Former Representative David Hobson, and Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix. Alternate delegates are Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, Attorney Elise Spriggs and Clark County Commission Candidate Melanie Wilt.
Though no Darke County residents will serve as delegates or alternates, the county will have at least one presence there nonetheless.
Lyn Bliss, president of the Ohio Federation of Republican Women (OFRW) is one local resident who will be participating in the party’s festivities in Cleveland.
Though prevented by OFRW rules from specifically commenting on Donald Trump or other GOP hopefuls until the official candidate is declared by the convention, the Greenville native did offer her thoughts on what she hopes to experience there.
“I hope the convention is peaceful and that the Republican Party finds its unity,” she said. “I hope everyone in the group focuses on consideration of the situation being that most of the opposition to the presumptive nominee is based upon what he’s said — whereas major exceptions to Hillary [Clinton] are based upon what she’s done.”
Bliss noted that Clinton had “attacked those women with whom her husband had affairs, got people killed with the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation, and let our people in Benghazi get killed — not to mention she is the prime initiator behind the health care system under which we are all learning things are not necessarily all they were promised to be.”
She says she is planning to attend all sessions, and as many social events as she can possibly squeeze into each day – from breakfasts to a late night “jam” session. These include receptions and parties hosted by U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost, Gov. John Kasich, Atlantic Magazine, Politico, Women to Women, WELD, and so forth.
Bliss said the major event for the OFRW will be the “Welcome Tea” at which the group will host the National Federation of Republican Women’s (NFRW) President Carrie Almond and its board of directors, including the presidents of all state federations.
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn will be the featured speaker at the event. Others indicating they will be in attendance are First Lady of Wisconsin, Mrs. Scott Walker; Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost and wife, Darlene Yost; Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and wife, Tina Husted; Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French; U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson and wife, LeeAnn; Ohio Representative Marlene Anielski, NFRW Immediate Past-president Kathy Brugger; NFRW Past-president Rae Lynne Chornenky; NFRW Past-president Sue Lynch; and Comedian/Political Commentator Eric Golub.
Bliss will be accompanied to Cleveland by Greenville City Treasurer Barbara Fee.
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