County Repub­li­cans at­tend na­tional con­ven­tion in Ohio



— Kevin Horn­berger (R-Ce­cil) has served as a del­e­gate in the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates for the past two years, but this week he’s serv­ing as a del­e­gate of a dif­fer­ent sort: one to the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

Horn­berger and Ce­cil County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent Bill Har­ris are in Ohio, where the con­ven­tion is be­ing held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleve­land. Run­ning through


Thurs­day, the con­ven­tion serves as a time for party lead­ers to strate­gize for the com­ing elec­tion, com­plete the demo­cratic process to for­mally nom­i­nate party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump and his vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence, and reach wide­spread au­di­ences with their nom­i­nees’ mes­sage.

“For me, it’s ex­cit­ing to meet Repub­li­cans out of the state, be­cause it’s kind of lonely to be a Repub­li­can in Mary­land,” Horn­berger said with a laugh.

“There’s a great sense of ca­ma­raderie in know­ing the same ef­fort is go­ing on in ev­ery state to help get our can­di­date elected to the pres­i­dency,” Har­ris added, not­ing they’re stay­ing in the same ho­tel as del­e­gates from Ne­braska and Florida. “When you get down to it, their thoughts are sim­i­lar to ours, and the lo­cal is­sues are largely the same as well.”

While Horn­berger and Har­ris were en­joy­ing their first days in Cleve­land, it was not an easy jour­ney to get to the

con­ven­tion. Dur­ing the April pri­mary, Horn­berger ran as a del­e­gate sup­porter for Florida Sen. Marco Ru­bio in the First Con­gres­sional Dis­trict — and was at a dis­ad­van­tage when Ru­bio sus­pended his cam­paign be­fore the Mary­land pri­mary — while Har­ris ran an at-large bid. Both were soundly de­feated by del­e­gates who pledged their sup­port to Trump.

Un­de­terred, Horn­berger and Har­ris at­tended the Repub­li­can spring con­ven­tion in An­napo­lis, where they were able to ob­tain some of the few slots held by the state party in­de­pen­dent of the pri­mary elec­tion.

“Trump wasn’t my first choice, but it’s the choice of the peo­ple,” Har­ris said. “The fact is that most states elected Trump, so the great ma­jor­ity of del­e­gates on the con­ven­tion floor are his sup­port­ers.”

Horn­berger said he was ex­cited to see the new in­flux in the Repub­li­can Party due to Trump’s can­di­dacy.

“There’s a tec­tonic shift in the party right now,” he said. “Most of the peo­ple on the floor and most of the peo­ple speak­ing at the con­ven­tion are new faces, reg­u­lar peo­ple who want change in their lead­er­ship and a new out­side voice. It’s a new fo­cal point for the party.”

While he did not ini­tially sup­port Trump, Har­ris said that the gre­gar­i­ous busi­ness­man has won him over through his man­age­ment of his cam­paign.

“Don­ald Trump has se­lected many of our first choices to be key mem­bers of his team and fu­ture mem­bers of his ad­min­is­tra­tion, so our com­fort level has risen and added to our ex­cite­ment about the can­di­date,” he said. “I dare say that Newt Gringrich may wind up the leader of a tran­si­tion team and pos­si­bly be chief of staff af­ter Trump wins the White House.”

Har­ris also said he thought that Pence is “an ab­so­lutely ex­cel­lent pick” for vice pres­i­dent.

“Our first can­di­date is a bit of mav­er­ick, but then he adds a good solid, con­ser­va­tive Chris­tian who has ac­com­plished a lot in a long ca­reer and rep­re­sents our val­ues,” he said.

Horn­berger said the pick, an­nounced last week, an­swered a few of his re­main­ing ques­tions about Trump’s cam­paign.

“My ques­tion be­fore his an­nounce­ment was, ‘Is he go­ing to pick a known con­gress­man or a gov­er­nor?’ In the end, he picked both with Pence,” he said.

The na­tional con­ven­tion, which usu­ally fea­tures pomp and cir­cum­stance aplenty, did carry some of the drama that drove much of the pri­mary cam­paign sea­son. On Mon­day night, several state del­e­ga­tions at­tempted to force a roll call vote on the con­ven­tion floor over the con­ven­tion’s rules. While a rather unim­por­tant move this week, it was headed by the Colorado del­e­ga­tion as a protest against party rules meant to im­pact fu­ture elec­tions and em­bar­rass the Trump cam­paign if suc­cess­ful.

While he didn’t agree with their tac­tic, Horn­berger said the protest rep­re­sents “the beauty of this process where each state has a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing things.”

Mean­while, Horn­berger and Har­ris have been en­joy­ing the sights and scenes of the con­ven­tion’s lo­ca­tion in Cleve­land. On Sun­day night, they were among the more than 1,000 del­e­gates who toured the city’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and en­joyed lo­cal food and beer ven­dors.

On Mon­day, Har­ris said he spent time walk­ing the Quicken Loans Arena, talk­ing with other Repub­li­cans and stop­ping to watch TV in­ter­views with party lead­ers.

“See­ing those live in­ter­views adds a lot of fla­vor to the at­mos­phere,” he said. “I also spent some time talk­ing with Dr. Ben Car­son.”

Horn­berger said he en­joyed hear­ing many of the speeches through­out the day, even those not by prime­time speak­ers.

“I’m get­ting the stump speeches, but I’m see­ing ev­ery­thing with­out the fil­ter that me­dia cov­er­age would have,” he said. “Each speaker brings a unique viewpoint, but I es­pe­cially like hear­ing from the lo­cal peo­ple about why they sup­port Trump.”

While at the con­ven­tion, Horn­berger and Har­ris said they are cog­nizant that they rep­re­sent the con­stituents of Ce­cil County and are work­ing to ad­vance their con­cerns.

“We’re get­ting email and Face­book mes­sages from con­stituents about is­sues they want us to be dis­cussing in Cleve­land,” Horn­berger said. “The big is­sues will be safety here and abroad, deal­ing with the im­mi­gra­tion, de­creas­ing the na­tional debt and im­prov­ing the econ­omy. Our for­eign house and our do­mes­tic house are not in or­der right now.”

Har­ris agreed and said those is­sues and more will likely be on the minds of vot­ers in Novem­ber.

“Amer­i­cans are peo­ple who don’t like to lose, and with ev­ery­thing that’s been go­ing on in re­cent months from the shoot­ings of po­lice of­fi­cers to ter­ror­ism, we’ve been los­ing a lot,” he said. “Peo­ple will be think­ing about how bad we’ve been beaten on and they’ll think about who we need to help turn things around.”


Del­e­gate Kevin Horn­berger, third from left, is a del­e­gate to the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Ohio this week.


A screen­shot of the Poke­mon Go game shows a Pidgey out­side of the Elk­ton branch of the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary.


Del­e­gate Kevin Horn­berger (R-Ce­cil) and Ce­cil County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent Bill Har­ris are at­tend­ing the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion this week in Ohio.

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