The Illinois Delegation was excited for the third day of our time down here in Tampa, because Tuesday was the day when things really cranked into full gear.
The morning delegation meeting kicked off at 9am with remarks from IL Chairman Pat Brady, and an overview of the day's events and itinerary from State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. We were delighted to hear from the morning's opening speaker, former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, who stressed for us the important of this election and spent time discussing the impact of election integrity (or lack thereof) in his loss to Al Franken in 2008. Losing by just 100 or so votes, it was recently reported that over 1000 felons voted in that election, providing the margin of "victory" for now Senator Franken.
Closing our morning session was former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history. Speaker Hastert talked about the fact that Illinois' congressional races are literally the only way Nancy Pelosi can retake the House in November, and outlined in no uncertain terms how important each and every one of us IL GOPers are to protecting our incumbents. Time, money, effort - all three of these things are wanted and needed right now, said Hastert. "Pick at least one and make a difference this year!"
We learned also that Bremen Township Committeeman Pat Rae, a retired Brigadier General from the United States Army, would be leading the entire convention in the Pledge of Allegiance at Wednesday's national session. What an incredible honor for Pat, and for the entire state of Illinois. Tune in to your preferred cable news network this evening to see Illinois kick off the night's event with Cook County's own!
At Tuesday's opening session, the first order of business was to formally nominate Mitt Romney as our Presidential candidate. This is one of my all-time favorite events in US politics, with each state's delegation announcing in their own unique way their votes for President. Finally, after a seemingly endless primary process, we had our candidate. Afterwards, Speaker John Boehner led the convention in the selection of Paul Ryan as our nominee for Vice President. The place went nuts.
By now you've read about the two major speeches of the opening session - Ann Romney and Chris Christie. I'll leave it to others to provide the analysis on what was said, but what I can say is that the feeling of excitement, of the gravity of the moment, and of the tremendous opportunity we have to put this country back on track - it was very real. There was an electricity in the air, and both Ann Romney and Chris Christie knocked it out of the park.
We're all very excited for tonight's event, which of course closes with remarks from Congressman Paul Ryan. Make no mistake - our party is the party that's driving the ideas in this cycle, and momentum is on our side. Paul Ryan has reshaped this race in ways no other candidate could have.
Tune in tonight!
Chairman, Chicago Republican Party