GOP convention alternate delegate Jonathan Hoffman of James Island is writing a daily guest blog from Cleveland this week. He can be reached at
Body: email@example.com and via Twitter @hoffmanforsc
After more than three years of campaign speeches, rallies, television ads and an obscene mass of candidate junk mail, the 2016 Republican Convention – where we finally nominate our candidate for president – is here.
It has been a busy weekend in Ohio with much of the South Carolina delegation arriving Sunday. Many having driven the 10-plus hours from home.
There was a Cleveland welcome event last night on the Lake Erie waterfront. The entire S.C. delegation attended en masse. However, it took us two hours to get into an event that was only five blocks from our hotel. This is not an exaggeration.
Protestors, traffic and a flawed security plan reared their ugly heads at the first official event of the convention. The security backup was so extreme that both the director and deputy director of the U.S. Secret Service showed up to try and expedite screening.
It was a wonderful event with around 15,000 delegates, guests, media and host committee members (locals) gathered to enjoy Cleveland’s best food-trucks, an open bar and live music on the lake next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The night ended with a massive fireworks display over the water. The Cleveland hosts did well rolling out the red carpet.
On Monday we started off with a delegation breakfast where we heard from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (unlikely to be the last time in the next four years South Carolinian’s Republicans will see him speak given is presidential aspirations) and security analyst K.T. McFarland. We followed that up with two convention sessions at the Quicken Loans Arena – the “Q.”
Unfortunately, another shooting of law enforcement over the weekend has placed delegates increasingly on edge. As a result there are many delegates who plan on taking advantage of Ohio’s open carry law when at non-official functions or just touring the city in spite of the massive police presence on every street in the area.
Finally, Cleveland might be the only city in the country that does not synchronize traffic lights. Mt. Pleasant has nothing on traffic here.