DEL­E­GATES

Baltimore Sun - - CORO­N­AVIRUS OUT­BREAK -

par­tic­u­larly among sub­ur­ban women.

But Haire said Trump’s polling among Mary­land Repub­li­cans “has been re­mark­ably con­sis­tent — be­tween 85 and 90% [ap­proval]. I haven’t seen any change in that.”

Haire said that, like the pop­u­la­tion in gen­eral, Mary­land del­e­gates had ex­pressed vary­ing viewpoints about health risks as­so­ci­ated with an in-per­son con­ven­tion, but that “peo­ple had just been rolling with it” and that the state’s Repub­li­cans are a “re­silient” group.

“I’m nat­u­rally dis­ap­pointed, be­cause the con­ven­tion would have given us the chance to show the na­tion our ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the pres­i­dent,” said con­ven­tion del­e­gate Tom Kennedy of Baltimore. “We think he’s done a re­mark­able job and has earned a four-year job ex­ten­sion.”

An­other Repub­li­can del­e­gate, Faith Loudon of Pasadena, said her en­thu­si­asm for Trump “is stronger than ever” and she sensed that her fel­low state Repub­li­cans re­main “ex­cited about the pres­i­dent.”

In­stead of the larger group that orig­i­nally planned to travel to Florida, six Mary­land GOP del­e­gates will be among just over 330 na­tional Repub­li­cans as Trump is for­mally nom­i­nated at the con­ven­tion at the end of the month in Char­lotte, North Carolina.

For the Mary­land del­e­gates not go­ing to Char­lotte, Haire said proxy vot­ing will be made avail­able through a se­cure on­line por­tal. And there’s ex­pected to be vir­tual pro­gram­ming in lieu of other con­ven­tion ac­tiv­i­ties typ­i­cally done in per­son.

The na­tional party aban­doned its orig­i­nal plan to stage the en­tire con­ven­tion in North Carolina fol­low­ing a dis­agree­ment with Demo­cratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who wouldn’t guar­an­tee the avail­abil­ity of a full-scale con­ven­tion be­cause of con­cerns about the virus.

The Repub­li­cans then planned to hold most of the con­ven­tion in Jack­sonville. The Mary­land del­e­ga­tion was set to stay with Ohio del­e­gates in a large ho­tel along the St. Johns River.

“With ev­ery­thing else that has been go­ing on, this is an­other dis­ap­point­ment,” said Repub­li­can state Del. Kevin Horn­berger of Ce­cil County, who was to travel to Jack­sonville with his wife, Danielle, a con­ven­tion del­e­gate.

While he had ex­pected the con­ven­tion to be more sub­dued than nor­mal be­cause of the virus, he said it would have been fun to par­tic­i­pate in a “pep rally” at­mos­phere.

Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan won’t be among the six peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing Mary­land in Char­lotte.

Those slots are re­served for each state’s GOP chair, del­e­ga­tion chair and other party of­fi­cers, such as Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­bers.

“He will be in Annapolis fo­cused on Mary­land,” Ho­gan spokesper­son Mike Ricci said.

The gov­er­nor has said he would con­sider a 2024 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy of his own.

Ho­gan passed on at­tend­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can con­ven­tion and said he wrote in the name of his fa­ther — for­mer U.S. Rep. Larry Ho­gan Sr. — in the gen­eral elec­tion. Ho­gan has said he hasn’t de­cided who he will vote for Nov. 3.

Among those who are head­ing to Char­lotte will be Haire and Ni­colee Am­brose, Mary­land’s Repub­li­can na­tional com­mit­tee­woman.

Am­brose said she was pre­pared to fol­low health man­dates such as tak­ing reg­u­lar COVID-19 tests, but said she was frus­trated that Cooper, the gov­er­nor, “re­fused to agree with ab­so­lutely any­thing” in the party’s orig­i­nal con­ven­tion plans.

Like Trump, Am­brose refers to the virus as “the Chi­nese virus.”

Am­brose said it “is ab­so­lutely a cre­ation of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party. The ques­tion is, was it an ac­ci­den­tal or in­ten­tional re­lease?”

The new virus first ap­peared in China. Sci­en­tists study­ing the virus have said hu­mans did not cre­ate it and it arose nat­u­rally in bats. They are work­ing to de­ter­mine when it may have jumped from an­i­mals to hu­mans.

While na­tional polls show Bi­den lead­ing Trump, Am­brose said: “The poll num­bers I care about are the ones in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber. Once La­bor Day comes, it is a full-con­tact sport and there is a lot more fo­cus.”

Na­tional Democrats are plan­ning an al­most en­tirely vir­tual con­ven­tion from Mil­wau­kee on Aug. 17-20.

“We will meet (on­line) ev­ery morn­ing and have key speak­ers who will let us know what’s go­ing on,” said Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a leader of the Mary­land del­e­ga­tion. “We tried to du­pli­cate as much as pos­si­ble the con­ven­tion sur­round­ings.”

Those in Mil­wau­kee will meet from just 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, ac­cord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary sched­ule for the event re­leased Wed­nes­day.

Ev­ery­one at­tend­ing must wear a mask, con­sent to daily test­ing for COVID-19, fill out ques­tion­naires and main­tain a phys­i­cal dis­tance from oth­ers.

Del­e­gates will cast bal­lots re­motely, be­gin­ning next week.

Cardin, Mary­land’s se­nior se­na­tor, agreed with Am­brose that the elec­tion is “far from re­solved.” The Demo­crat said there re­mains “a large seg­ment that aren’t guar­an­teed vot­ers, and mo­ti­va­tion of who comes out to vote is crit­i­cally im­por­tant in this elec­tion.”

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