Travis County Democratic Convention
Posted on 2008-03-30 11:41:00
Tags: essay politics
At our precinct convention, I signed up to be an Obama delegate at the county convention, which took place on Saturday.
Our precinct group had a strategy meeting on Thursday that I was unable to attend. Since we were ahead 36-17 in delegates and our precinct sent 4 delegates to the state convention, we selected among ourselves who we wanted to go and then allocated our votes to make sure we got 3 delegates (3 people got 10 votes, and the leftovers voted for alternates). The math is kinda interesting - I'm sure there's a formula/procedure to determine the optimal strategy.
Anyway, I had gotten calls before to make sure I'd be attending, and an organizer even stopped by the house so I could sign a form designating an alternate in case something happened and I couldn't make it. And after I woke up bright and early at 7:30 I got a call making sure I was on my way :-)
Stopped to get breakfast and pick up wildrice13, who was also an Obama delegate (in a different precinct) and headed down to the Travis County Expo Center which turned out to be not particularly close to here (it's near the airport). At around 9:00 we turned on to Decker Lane and quickly got in a very long line of cars.
Twenty minutes go by and we haven't moved a whole lot, and we can't even see the Expo Center (it's a hilly road), but some cars are parking in an elementary school parking lot and walking, which seems like a good idea so we follow suit. The walk wasn't too bad, maybe .75 of a mile.
When we finally arrive at the hall there are two really long lines and lots of people with signs with precinct numbers. We find our right line (it's 9:30 by this point) and wait. And wait. And wait. The line is moving really slowly and someone in front of us says it's a gigantic mess at the front, which is pretty easy to believe. Someone comes by to assure us that even though sign in ends at 10, they're extending it to count us all, which is good.
Make it to the front after an hour and there are different windows for different groups of precincts but there's little space to form lines so it is all in fact a mess. wildrice13 finds his window and I find mine and we eventually get in.
The place is packed and I find my seat. They're just getting started, luckily, so they do the pledge of allegiance and national anthem and it opens with Lloyd Doggett talking about unity (a major theme of the day), that no matter who our nominee is we need to support him/her over McCain. Shortly after that, the convention chair told us that the speeches were basically killing time for the credentials committee to process all the challenges to delegates, and that after that was done we could do the voting for the state delegates.
Lots of other people spoke throughout the day - Larry Joe Doherty (candidate for the 10th congressional district) pointed out that more people voted in the Democratic primary in district 10 than did for Michael McCaul (current representative) in 2004, which is pretty neat. And although everyone talked about unity, the ones who had endorsed (mostly for Obama) would say "Now, while I do support Obama" followed by lots of loud cheering by the Obama people, then a call for unity followed by more muted cheering by everyone. Sometimes they'd talk about George W. Bush or less commonly Tom Craddick and Tom DeLay. Then we got to boo!
During the speeches, I paid attention some, read some, chatted some with people around me, got food from the concessions stand. (overpriced, of course) Eventually Terry McAuliffe (!) came out to speak for Hillary and Ron Kirk spoke for Obama. That was neat.
Finally the credentials committee and rules committee reported for both districts (most challenges of delegates were rejected, with the notable exception of a Republican precinct chair!) and then people had to vote for district officers. In the other district (25) only one person ran for chairman and secretary, but in ours we had 4 run for chairman and around 6 for secretary. I was worried we would have to all vote somehow, but the guy was clever. For chairman we voted by voice vote and it was clear who the winner was. For secretary two candidates got about the same, but the chairman made a motion to make them co-secretaries. Genius!
Shortly thereafter, we voted. As planned, we voted 10-10-10-6-1 ish. The Clinton people voted 9-8 so they only got one alternate; if they had voted 9-5-3-1 or something they could have had two, I think. There was more business after that (resolutions and stuff) but wildrice13 and I left since it was already 4:30. The people who stayed said the convention was adjourned at 11:15, so I'm really glad we didn't stay until the end!
I have some pictures up, as does one of the other delegates. Burnt Orange Report shows Obama up by 11% or so throughout Texas, and Travis County went for Obama 383-184. Here's the CNN story.
Then I drove to San Antonio and got back at 12:30. Then I hottubbed. It was a long day.
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