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Area Republicans gear up for convention

By DAVID HUTTON The Press-News Published: July 15, 2016 10:00 AM
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Republicans from across the country will travel to Cleveland for the 2016 Republican National Convention, held July 18-21 at Quicken Loans Arena.

And while the national spotlight shines on northeastern Ohio, party faithful descending on the region will bring along a tidal wave of tourism dollars, with the ripple effect makings way to eastern Stark County.

According to Andrew Castle, executive director of the Stark County Republican Party, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is a great opportunity for Ohio, and Northeast Ohio in particular, to showcase ourselves to a large national and global audience.

"With an expected 15,000 members of credentialed media in attendance, and a global press corps likely to be second only to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the nation and the world will have its eyes on Cleveland and Northeast Ohio during the convention," he said.

As a result, the convention presents a unique opportunity for Stark County, with attractions like the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the William McKinley Museum and Memorial, and the National First Ladies' Library (to name only a few), drawing in convention-goers looking to explore.

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Castle noted that a few delegations have already booked tours of the Hall of Fame, and the RNC has booked rooms in nearby hotels to have at their disposal.

By the numbers, the convention will attract roughly 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternates from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the five territories.

In addition to the delegations, there will be more than 8,000 volunteers and more than 100 staffers. However, delegates will only represent a small portion of the total number of people involved in the convention and 50,000 visitors are expected in the region during the convention.

Elected officials serving as delegates or alternates from Stark County include Ohio Republican State Central Committee Member Sarah Brown, of Alliance, Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton, County Auditor Alan Harold and Ohio House Rep. Kirk Schuring R-Jackson Township.

Because Gov. John Kasich won the Ohio primary on March 15, his slate of 66 delegates will attend the convention.

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All 66, many of them prominent Republican officials or former officials loyal to Kasich, have signed statements filed with the Secretary of State that they will support Kasich for president. The Ohio Republican Party said party rules require they back Kasich for at least the first ballot.

Members of the Stark County Republican Party will also be traveling to and from Cleveland to participate in various ancillary events associated with the convention.

Whether you are a local Republican or a supporter of the party's nominee, businessman Donald Trump, attending the convention is less likely than landing a ticket to Taylor Swift concert.

While it is difficult to gain entry to the convention floor for those that are not delegates or credentialed members of the media, Castle noted that there are opportunities to attend for volunteers through the Host Committee and the RNC.

"Although it is not guaranteed that the volunteer's post will be on the convention floor, it is still a great way to be involved and get a closer look at the action," he said. Volunteers will fulfill a variety of different roles, including but limited to: runners, greeters, transportation, ADA volunteers, and event way-finders."

Anyone interested can apply at gopvolunteer.azurewebsites.net.

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