The Republican National Convention is in full swing in Tampa, and Illinois’ delegation – official and unofficial – includes several Illinois State community members.
Robert Bradley, a retired professor in the Department of Politics and Government and frequent convention visitor, is covering the 2012 GOP convention for Bloomington-Normal radio station WJBC. Most Day 1 festivities Monday were canceled because of Hurricane Isaac, though Bradley said the dangerously high winds and heavy rains that had been feared never materialized in Tampa.
“They could’ve held the first day of the convention,” he said. “But they didn’t know that at the time.”
Despite that, transportation of delegates between the hotels and the primary venue, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, has been a logistical “nightmare,” Bradley said. Just like the Democratic National Convention in 2000 in Los Angeles, which Bradley also attended, organizers in Tampa forgot to account for rush hour.
“There were a fair number of Illinois delegates who did not make it for roll call (on Tuesday) because they were stuck in traffic,” Bradley said.
Tuesday’s prime-time speeches included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney, presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s wife. The biggest ovation, however, came when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took the stage, Bradley said.
Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford ’78, who got his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State, is Romney’s Illinois campaign chairman.
“At the first Illinois delegation breakfast, he got a standing ovation. He got a bigger round of applause than anybody,” Bradley said.
Also in attendance are Illinois State Board of Trustees members Jay Bergman ’70 and Robert Dobski. Bergman is a delegate to the convention, as is Dobski’s wife, Julie.
On Tuesday, Bradley found time to speak to the St. Petersburg Kiwanis Club, the largest civic club in St. Petersburg and one of the oldest Kiwanis chapters in the U.S., about his different convention experiences over the years. The address was arranged by David Abbey ’73, the future president of the club, who is an Illinois State alumnus and part of the Attorneys Advisory Board in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Bradley will talk about his convention visit during a Mornings with the Professors session, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. October 12 at the Alumni Center in Normal. He’ll do the same at 7 p.m. September 17 at the Carlock library in Carlock.
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.