Nebraska’s Republican National Committeeman says he and other delegates at the GOP’s presidential nominating convention this summer “may have a front-row seat to history.”
J.L. Spray, an attorney in Lincoln, has been a delegate at four previous national conventions.
“It’s a coming together of a lot of divergent views, a lot different vocations, a lot of favored ideas and favored individuals and personalities — and you have to let it happen and see where it goes,” Spray told the Nebraska Radio Network. “We’ve, good or bad, had such structured conventions for so long that a lot of people have just forgotten that there’s a purpose to it.”
Spray said 18 months ago when he saw how many candidates were running, he thought the party’s nominee might have to be chosen at the convention.
“When I understood how the rules were going to roll out during the primary and caucus season…I began to get a sense that it was likely that nobody was going to be able to lock up the nomination real early,” Spray said. “And at that point if there were multiple people with delegates, it would be difficult for somebody to lock it up later.”
Spray just read a biography of President James K. Polk who was nominated on the ninth round of voting at the Democratic Party’s 1844 convention.
“He wasn’t even in nomination until the fifth (round of voting),” Spray said. “Martin Van Buren had been out of power for four years and was the obvious choice going into the convention.”
Spray will be one of the 36 Republican delegates from Nebraska at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July. Nebraska’s delegates are bound to cast their convention votes based on the results of the May 10 primary during the first two rounds of voting in Cleveland. Nebraska’s Republican Party will send 24 “at large” delegates chosen at the party’s state convention on May 14. Nine other delegates will represent each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts.
The other three Nebraskans who’ll be part of the delegation are GOP chairman Dan Welch of Omaha; Republican National Committeewoman Joyce Simmons of Valentine and Spray, the National Committeeman.
— By O.Kay Henderson