Girls About Town: Elephant in the Room
Off to do our patriotic duty, your Girls About Town headed to Fort Wayne for the Indiana Republican Party Convention. We figured anything with “party” in the title sounded promising! Besides, it was a weekend away from cleaning, chauffeuring kids, and cooking. What did we have to lose?
The weekend started at the convention center on Friday night at 5. The room was full, with 1,700 delegates and elected officials. The county signs were everywhere to let you know where to sit, and we were with the Hamilton County group.
The main purpose of the weekend was to elect the Republican nominee for Indiana State Treasurer. There were three people running, and they all spoke. Honestly, they all sounded good to us. After they spoke, we heard from the GOP National Chairman, Reince Priebus. He was surprisingly entertaining! This probably won’t come off right, but he sounded like a character from The Sopranos. He said that the Party needed a better game plan, and that it needed to be more aggressive. He really got the crowd going!
Next was Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential contender. Mr. Huckabee was pretty much what you’d expect. If you’ve ever seen his show, that’s what he was like. He mixed humor and heartwarming anecdotes effectively.
After all the speeches, the real fun began! We adjourned across the street to the minor league ballpark. It was a picture-perfect night, and various restaurants were giving away some great food. There was a band playing and we mingled with the other delegates. We went upstairs to the suites packed with elected officials, delegates, lawyers, and sponsors. It had a very upbeat vibe and was a lot of fun. The different candidates sponsored suites, and everyone walked around, chatting.
After the suites, we headed to a block party down the street. It was around midnight, but it felt like it was the middle of the day. It was sponsored by the mayor of Fort Wayne (we think). There was more music, more drinks, and more people. There was a bar across the street where we headed after that. One of the candidates sponsored that event. It was one late night! It really felt like we were back in college.
Amazingly, we got to the convention hall on time the next morning at 10. It was a busy morning. We listened to and voted on some potential changes to the party platform. (This is where it would have been very helpful to have read the literature they sent us ahead of time.) After that vote, there were speeches from Speaker of the House and Geist resident Brian Bosma, Senate Pro Tem David Long, Mrs. Pence, and the governor. If you’ve ever heard Governor Pence speak, you can’t help but notice one thing…the guy really wants to be another Reagan. His mannerisms, his delivery, his message, very much have that “shining city upon a hill” speech quality that Reagan had. Time will tell whether that resonates with the public, if he chooses to run for president. It did work with this crowd.
After Governor Pence spoke, it was Richard Mourdock’s turn. He spoke for about 20 minutes and gave a somewhat tearful thank-you and goodbye speech. He is stepping down from his post as the State Treasurer due to term limits. Interestingly, his comparison of the direction of the U.S. to that of Nazi Germany went largely unnoticed during the convention. Reporters claimed that the delegates were “stunned,” “shocked,” and “outraged.” Having been there, we can tell you that simply was not the case. He gave a heartfelt farewell speech that was touching.
When the speeches ended, we lined up to vote. There were three candidates vying for the treasurer’s job. It took three rounds of voting to determine that the winner was Kelly Mitchell. She currently works in the treasurer’s office and will run against the Democrat nominee in November. In between votes, we went across the street to the local watering hole. It was better than killing time on the metal chairs in the convention hall.
The convention ended with a performance by Kenny Loggins. Thanks to our friend Steve, we were lucky enough to score second row seats. We jumped out of our seats when “Footloose” came on and were dancing in the aisles. It was a great crowd, and Loggins completely engaged the audience. After the show, we went to a meet-and-greet with Mr. Loggins. He was personable and chatted politely with everyone there.
It was an action-packed weekend, and we want to thank our county chairman, Pete Emigh, for letting both of us join in the fun. We are already looking forward to the next one in 2016. Who said politics is boring?