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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

GOP State Convention Goes to 1 Day in 2008

In the immediate preceding post, I wrote that the Indiana State Republicans will go to a one-day Saturday state convention in 2008.

Indiana Democrats moved to a one-day convention format a few years ago. This allows a greater number of delegates to attend the convention without interference at work.

Once the nominations for Governor and Senator were removed from the conventions in the 1970's it was probably inevitable that the week-day conventions were going to go away. Fewer offices being contested with lower stakes has contributed to the decline in interest.

The Republicans also were somewhat up in the air as to the dates for the convention until relatively late. The Indiana Convention Center would try to fill up its schedule with regular conventions and events paying full rental. Once a point had been reached on the calendar which made it unlikely a full-price convention would be booking a date, the State Republicans would then be presented a list of remaining open dates in June - at a discounted rate - from which they could choose a date to set for the convention.

This has become a less than optimal way of scheduling the state conventions, particulary in a presidential election year. The task of coordinating schedules with the requirements of the national party conventions becomes somewhat easier when the state convention dates have been set as far in advance as possible.

State conventions used to be held out at the Fairgrounds prior to 1972. Many of the oldtimers tell tales of how hot the State Fairgrounds Coliseum would get in "the old days." The Fairgrounds Coliseum is now air-conditioned, so we are unlikely to revisit those times.

However, who knows? A Saturday convention could take on some of the aspects of the old two-day Fairgrounds conventions. Delegates might arrive early on Friday night and candidates may then decide to host less-formal hospitality suites as they used to do before the advent of the all-under-one-roof hospitality receptions orchastrated by the State Committee.

We might even get a year when the air-conditioning goes out at the Fairgounds Coliseum in the midst of a contested convention. Nah, that's dreaming. The air-conditioning going out at the Fairgrounds is pretty reliable, I understand. And the possibility of contested offices at the state party conventions? Well, increasingly, that seems remote, too.

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