DENVER (CBS4) – The chairman of Colorado’s national delegation at the Republican National Convention this week says the group he’s chairing is unlike any in recent history.
Sean Conway says the delegation is the most diverse he’s ever seen, with representatives from the many factions of the Republican party: evangelicals, tea partyers, libertarians and others.
“We may have differences in terms of how to solve the problems that face our country but we’re united under the sense that the status quo just can’t continue,” Conway told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd in an interview in Colorado before his trip to Florida for the convention.
Conway’s history with Republican politics dates back more than 30 years. The Weld County Commissioner, who was elected chairman of the state’s delegates in April, has been to five national conventions, with his first in 1976.
That was also the last contested Republican convention. Gerald Ford won by less than 100 delegates.
Conway admits conventions today are different.
“It has now turned into more of a media spectacle where both parties hire media consultants and put on something that’s kind of like a TV show for four days,” he said. (The interview took place before the first day of events were mostly postponed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.)
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It’s a show that nevertheless is high stakes, with three hours of primetime TV.
The campaign says viewers will get a more complete picture of who Mitt Romney is at the convention. They will also see a party that is in transition, and Colorado’s national delegates a reflection of that. Half of them have never been to a convention.
“These folks are small business people. They are folks quite frankly that two to three years ago weren’t engaged in political process but they got tired of sitting on the couch and being frustrated so they said ‘I’m going to go and get engaged,’ ” Conway told CBS4.
Often seen as the party of white men, Republicans are also working to close the gender gap. Colorado’s delegation has several women.
Yet even as they attempt to broaden the base, the party platform caters to the more conservative elements, with strict positions on abortion, immigration and gay marriage.
“The platform gets talked about a lot at the convention and then forgotten about a week after the convention,” said Conway.
The convention in many ways is just the beginning.