Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Here's a look at some of the more familiar names among the RNC delegates

Scroll through the list of 2,286 Republican delegates, and you'll notice some familiar names. Add in the 2,000 who are arriving as alternates, and it amounts to a collection of most of the top names in GOP politics, bolstered by scores of lesser-known Republicans who still have quite a bit of clout back home.

Here's a guide to some of the delegates you'll find at the Tampa convention.

Former officials

Every delegation is filled out with some of the top GOP officeholders in the state, and a few delegations feature some familiar elected officials from the recent and not-so-recent past.

Former Sen. (and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer) Jim Bunning is part of the Kentucky delegation. The New Hampshire contingent will include former Gov. and Sen. Judd Gregg, not to mention former White House chief of staff and Gov. John H. Sununu, the noted Mitt Romney surrogate.

Delaware will send longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, whose career came to a close with his upset loss to Christine O'Donnell in a nationally watched 2010 Senate primary.

The first woman elected to Congress from Nevada, 91-year-old Barbara Vucanovich, will also be in Tampa.

Those who fell short

The convention isn't just for those who were successful in their bids for office. The delegate rosters are filled with names of notable candidates who fell short in their bids but continued to play a role in the party.

Some prominent examples include Suzanne Terrell, a Louisiana lawyer and commissioner of elections who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Mary Landrieu's 2002 bid for re-election, and state Sen. Dino Rossi, who unsuccessfully ran for governor twice and the U.S. Senate once.

The Connecticut delegation includes former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, most recently seen losing to Linda McMahon in the Senate primary, and former Ambassador Tom Foley, who lost by a slim margin in the governor's race in 2010.

In Illinois, Ethan Hastert is a delegate. He fell short in his effort to win the Republican primary for the seat his father, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (also a delegate this year), held for 20 years. And they're not the only father and son duo among the delegates.

All in the family

Just as in Illinois, if you look closely at the delegation lists, you'll find a lot of people with the same last name. Spouses, offspring and siblings of politicians are frequently selected as delegates.

Tonnette Walker, wife of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is a delegate this year, as is Annette Scott, first lady of Florida. U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp is a delegate and his wife, Angela, is an alternate both from Kansas.

In Florida, David Cardenas, co-chair of the Romney campaign in Miami-Dade and son of former Florida GOP party chairman Al Cardenas, is in the delegation; in Colorado, Monica Owens, daughter of former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, is a delegate. Both former Gov. Haley Barbour and nephew Henry Barbour are part of the Mississippi delegation. Henry has been making a name for himself as a campaign manager and political strategist for 20 years now.

Political players

Political players of every stripe will be on the convention floor, among them fundraisers, ad men, activists, advisers, donors, and former state party chairs. Some names are recognizable: David Koch, one half of the billionaire Koch brothers, who is an at-large delegate from New York. Pete Coors of Miller Coors Brewing, former Republican senate candidate and donor to the Romney campaign, is a Colorado delegate.

Others cut a smaller profile, like Tom Ross, the former Delware Republican Party chairman who got death threats after endorsing Castle over O'Donnell in the 2010 Senate primary.

A few more prominent names: Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime political force and founder of the Eagle Forum, is a Missouri delegate. And Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Resource Council, is a member of the Louisiana delegation.

Ron Paul forces

The Texas congressman's supporters have fought hard for positions during the delegate allocation process, and some of them have leadership roles in their state delegations. Nevada delegation chairman Wayne Terhune told the Las Vegas Sun a week before the convention started that his state plans to bring Paul's name to the convention floor. Ron Paul's Iowa campaign manager, Drew Ivers, chairs his state's delegation.

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