Illinois GOP Delegates Revved Up Following RNC
By Amanda Vinicky and Tony Arnold
Illinois Republicans are headed home after a week in Tampa, where on Thursday night Mitt Romney accepted his party’s nomination for President.
The week didn’t begin as planned. The threat that tropical storm Isaac would bludgeon Tampa Bay led organize to cancel the first day of the convention.
The early forecasts were off the storm’s menace hit hard elsewhere along the Gulf, but it merely brushed by Tampa.
Speaking Thursday morning at the final state meeting of the Illinois delegation, John Sununu likewise floated the idea that political forecasters would be off with their predictions about President Barack Obama’s home state:
“I have an interesting theory that as folks go around this country polling are really missing things," Sununu said. "So I’d like to suggest to you that contrary to the general assumption that there’s no chance for this Romney/Ryan ticket to win Illinois, I suggest you join me in a little conspiracy here .. and let’s surprise ‘em.”
Sununu, the former Governor of New Hampshire, carried on the fantasy:
“Put it this way imagine how satisfying it would be for you folks to wake up on Wednesday after Election Day to say ‘holy crap!’ did you see what happened in Illinois?" Sununu said. "You can do it!”
Illinois Republicans who were revved up by the idea were even more so after last night.
All evening, speakers with connections to Romney took to the stage from Olympic athletes, business associates, and members of his church. They all sought to booster the public’s image of him, and to tarnish Obama’s record. Even filmmaker and actor Clint Eastwood got in on the act.
At the end of the night, it was time for Romney to do it for himself. As he strode to the stage, he walked right by Illinois delegates, shaking some of their hands.
Then he proceeded to make his case that Obama had not fulfilled his promise of hope, and change. Romney said he could offer the kind of change the country needs.
Eloise Gercon of Chicago was at the Republican National Convention. She describes herself as a Hispanic, Jewish, an immigrant.
“He did great, great. Power to women,” Eloise Gercon of Chicago said during the Republican National Convention. “The Party has a great team to move forward, really move forward.. jobs, gas, the gas prices so high because the poor people are suffering! This was great, it has energize all of us. And some of us that who were on the fence. And hopefully it’ll turn around. And hopefully we’ll elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.”
Many of the delegates had an equally positive reaction about Romney’s remarks, but each had different reasons.
Delegate Kay Ferris, who’s from western Illinois - Whiteside County - said she most appreciated Romney’s foreign policies.
"The reaffirmation that we’re going to protect our country, make it strong," Ferris said. "That was the best.”
Romney barbed Obama for giving Russia’s president too much flexibility for not appropriately dealing with the threat of a nuclear Iran, and for relaxing sanctions on Cuba.
On the domestic front, Urbana mother Karen Miller said she liked what she heard about Romney’s commitment to creating jobs. Critics immediately called Romney’s plan to create 12 million jobs a safe, conservative plan. That is how many economists believe will be created anyway.
"It hasn’t happened in eh past, not under the rules we’re living in now, it’s not going to happen if we continue along the same path,” Miller said.
Speaking of jobs, Delegate Jay Bergman, who’s President of the PETCO Petroleum Corporation in Hinsdale – an oil and natural gas producer … was supportive of Romney’s plans to make North American energy independent by 2020.
“That’s something that’s a big thing, it’ll create jobs, it’ll reduce our dependency on the Saudi’ and others for whom we now are giving all of our money to buy their oil,” Bergman said.
His wife, Lori, said it exceeded her every expectation. She stood waist-deep in red, white and blue balloons that had poured down from the ceiling.
It was an impressive display, but there were so many that in order to leave the arena; delegates took to using their Romney campaign buttons and pins to pop them.
Republicans are pumped with excitement now, but November is a long way off. Their metaphorical balloons could burst well before then when Obama makes his case to the public next week, at the Democratic National convention in Charlotte.