- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Political pecking order doesn’t sit well with some states
Delegations from non-conservative states get less-than-prime seating
Question of the Day
TAMPA, Fla. — It’s hard to know what Vermont did to deserve the worst seats at the Republican National Convention.
Sure, Vermont never votes Republican in presidential races. And, yes, the state did elect socialist Bernard Sanders to the Senate. But is that any reason to stick the delegation in a cubbyhole in the back of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, sandwiched between two bulky camera stands?
Vermont delegate Jane McKnight said she wasn’t surprised by the less-than-optimal seating assignment.
“I actually thought they would be worse,” she said. “We know Vermont’s three electoral votes are probably not going to the Republican nominee. We are fighting the good fight, but it’s probably a lost cause.”
When it comes to the party convention pecking order, clearly some states are more equal than others. The best seats in the house typically go to the states with the closest ties to the presidential and vice presidential nominees, and this year is no exception.
The delegation from Michigan, where Mitt Romney was born and raised, is front row, center stage here at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Massachusetts also has prime seating, just to Michigan’s right, as befits the state that elected Mr. Romney governor. Delegates from Wisconsin, home of Paul Ryan, are sitting pretty, with orchestra seats to the immediate left of Michigan.
As for the have-nots, the second-worst seats after Vermont’s are those of the Kansas delegates, seated directly in front of the Vermonters. The effect is “like being a racehorse and having blinders on,” said Kansas delegate Celia Beymer.
Even so, Kansas delegates were remarkably cheerful about their predicament, and noted that, in an inversion of the Vermont situation, chalked it up to their state being sufficiently safe for the Republicans.
“We’re in a cozy corner,” Kansas delegate Kelly Arnold said. “We understand it’s all about logistics. We’re a solid red state, so if they need to give another state a little more preference to help bring them along, that’s fine.”
The other theory is this may be payback for the primary.
Kansas did swing heavily for former Sen. Rick Santorum, giving him 51 percent of the vote to Mr. Romney’s 21 percent. In fact, Mr. Romney didn’t even campaign in the state during the primary race, ceding the field to Mr. Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Kansas delegates have tried to turn their remote outpost into a home by decorating their sign pole with a pair of ruby slippers and a Wichita State University flag.
“It doesn’t take away from our enthusiasm,” Mrs. Beymer said.
Convention organizers insist the seating chart is drawn up primarily with an eye to keeping state delegations together and making sure nobody has an obstructed view of the stage. That factor all but guarantees that no delegation will be seated behind Texas, whose delegates traditionally wear 10-gallon hats to the floor sessions.
Still, it’s easy to see why some delegations might feel slighted. For example, it would be difficult to find a state more solidly in the Romney camp than Utah — indeed, delegates describe their heavily Mormon state as the adopted home of the Republican nominee. Yet the Beehive State is stuck behind Illinois, home of President Obama.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Gun rights apply to the District, too
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq