Delegates bound for national convention

August 29, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

TRI-STATE - This morning, state Sen. Donald F. Munson and fellow Washington County Republican Richard Hugg are scheduled to board a chartered bus in Annapolis with other state delegates who are traveling to this week's Republican National Convention in New York.

Munson, R-Washington, and Hugg are among 75 delegates from Maryland and 4,788 Republican delegates from across the nation expected to endorse the Bush-Cheney ticket at the four-day convention at Madison Square Garden, convention spokeswoman Heather Layman said.

This year's convention will be Munson's fourth in his political career of 30 years. Munson was appointed as a delegate at large.


Hugg was chosen to serve as an alternate delegate representing Washington County. Alternate delegates replace delegates who aren't able to perform their duties during the convention. Hugg joined the Washington County Republican Club in 1999 and is a former past president and secretary. This will be his first convention.

"I was chosen at the governor's recommendation to get more grassroots Republicans involved in the convention process," Hugg said.

Hugg retired from the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and moved to Washington County a year later. The political science major said he's honored to be chosen by state Republican leaders.

"It's an opportunity of a lifetime," he said.

Munson and Hugg said they are 100 percent committed and ready to roll up their sleeves to re-elect President Bush.

At last month's Democratic National Convention in Boston, Natalie Tennant of Charleston, W.Va., traded in her press credentials for delegate credentials.

Tennant, who is active throughout the state, was one of 18 elected delegates and one of 44 delegates from the state who attended the convention. There were 4,322 Democratic delegates from across the country, according to a party Web site.

Upon their arrival, Tennant said the West Virginia delegation was welcomed to Boston's Fleet Center with open arms. Coming from a key battleground state, Tennant said they often were reminded how West Virginia failed the Democrats in the 2000 presidential election.

"We were being told, 'West Virginia's got to pull it through for us this year,'" Tennant said.

On the convention floor, Tennant said the West Virginia delegation had a great seat near the eye of a CNN camera viewfinder. She said a cameraman shot the group in several televised live shots taken by the network, and her broadcast experience came in handy.

"I told them, 'Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer.' We had to keep the energy going," Tennant said. "We had to be enthusiastic and not look bored."

Overall, she said her most memorable moment was the night of John Kerry's acceptance speech.

"When John said, 'I accept your nomination as president,' I got chills and I really felt a part as a delegate," Tennant said.

Convention days typically are filled with committee meetings and receptions before the main convention floor opens in the late afternoon, delegates said. Since the early 1900s, Republican and Democratic parties have used a delegate system to nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates, according to Hood College history professor Rusty Monhollon.

"The political parties have created their own mechanism, each party sets their own rules about who can vote and who's a delegate," he said.

Delegates are elected by voters, appointed as alternates or appointed at large. Some also are elected officials or staff members from each party's headquarters.

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