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Republicans Head Toward Convention

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, July 18, 2016, the Republican Convention is just a week away; but many questions remain.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry M. Lathan promised that she and the ALGOP staff will Tweet all the latest news from the convention. Chairman Lathan said on social media: “I will be live tweeting as well as staff. @ChairmanLathan @algop we will send video, photos and share with you all. Get ready to rock Cleveland! Also we will plead to facebook- my chairman page and ALGOP RNC 2016 and ALGOP National Convention apps are ready! Download them both. Search ALGOP National Convention and RNC 2016 Official App. We will be adding info on the ALGOP app daily closer to the convention. Same with the RNC! Rock on!”

The 2016 Republican National Convention will begin at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Monday, July 21, and ends Friday 25.

The biggest question to decide is who will be presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s Vice-President pick?

The Chairman of the Alabama Convention Delegation, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) is among a handful of people still being discussed as being on the shortlist.

Donald Trump’s Montgomery River Region Chairman former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr, said in a statement, “Donald Trump knows that Senator Sessions is a Principled Conservative! Donald Trump wants a VP that is well thought of by the US Senate and the US Congress so that he can get his Legislation passed! This would be AMERICA’S DREAM TEAM! It’s Great To Be A TRUMP/ SESSIONS AMERICAN!!”

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Others include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Indiana Governor Mike Pence; Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin; US Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas); and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia).

The New York City billionaire businessman and reality TV star is expected to make the announcement before the convention begins.

State Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia) and his wife Judy Carns are representing Alabama on the Platform Committee.

Chess Bedsole and Catherine Long are representing Alabama on the Credentials Committee.

Alabama State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Laura Payne are both representing Alabama on the Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

Former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr. and Jeana Boggs are representing Alabama on the Committee on Permanent Organization.

The committees are meeting this week in Cleveland ahead of the convention.

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The badly beaten (to this point) anyone but Trump forces are expected to make a last stand at the convention and that will begin in the committees where they hope to pass resolutions to make the delegates unbound. The Free the Delegates movement is reportedly being led by Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh. She is expected to make his case before the powerful Rules Committee on Thursday. Unruh wants 56 of her 112 colleagues on the Rules Committee to join her on a vote in favor of a “Conscience Clause.” That would effectively codify into the convention rules that delegates are free to support anyone they choose. Failing that Unruh would also like to get 28 delegates to sign that they favor the conscience clause. That would take it out of Committee and straight to a floor vote of the whole convention. Never Trump people are telling convention delegates that they are not bound anyway whether the rule change passes or not.

The Hill is reporting that most insiders believe the Never Trump forces will be easily crushed both in the committee and in the convention as a whole.

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the Republican National Committee and there will be an effort to weaken the RNC’s control over the process going forward.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinilli told The Hill he plans to propose all manner of rules designed to move power away from the Republican National Committee and other party leaders.

Trump is expected to attempt to make the platform more representative of his views, particularly on trade where he has opposed most of the recent international trade deals that the Republican establishment supports.

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) is Chairman of the Convention and he and Trump disagree on a number of issues including on trade, taxes, and raising the minimum wage.

Judy Carns and her husband Rep. Carns attended the first meeting of the Platform Committee on Sunday, July 10. Mrs. Crarns said on social media that they are, “Getting to know Delegates from all over America. So exciting.”

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The Platform is not binding on Trump or any other Republican candidate.

Security has emerged as a major issue. The recent gunning down of five police officers at a protest in Dallas on Thursday has only highlighted the security concerns for Convention attendees. Groups, including Black Lives Matter hope to disrupt the convention and take attention away from what is happening inside of the arena to their protests outside.

For those who are unable to attend the Convention as either a delegate or a guest, the Alabama Republican Party is selling tickets to their 2016 Summer Dinner. It will be Saturday August 27 in Huntsville. Tickets are still available.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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