Maine delegates reflect on unconventional convention

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 4:12 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - It’s the final night of the Republican National Convention. Coronavirus led to a smaller-than-usual delegation from Maine, but the delegates didn’t scale down their expectations.

When President Donald Trump officially accepts his place at the top of this year’s ballot tonight, he’ll do so from the White House rather than the party convention. The six Maine delegates who made the trip to Charlotte are back in-state and will watch from home.

“The very fact that you’re part of the process... it’s an honor, it’s exciting,” said Maine’s Republican Party Committeeman Josh Tardy. He said it may not look or feel like past conventions, but critical, official business needed to be handled in-person.

Delegates describe a state and national party united behind the president.

But Maine’s longest-tenured Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, didn’t support Trump in 2016 and hasn’t said where she stands this year as she fights to hang onto her own seat.

GOP Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas argued Mainer’s appreciate Collins’ independent streak and said the senator’s differences with the president won’t prevent them from working together. “I’m a huge Trumpster,” she said, “but I’m also a huge Susan Collins supporter, they’re not mutually exclusive.”

Meanwhile Dale Crafts, who also made the trip, is running to win back Maine’s 2nd District seat in the U.S. House from incumbent Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine).

While Golden is the only recent candidate in 100 years to knock out an incumbent, Crafts said he’s confident, “we’re going to win back the majority in the House so the president can do the work and not have these distractions.”

The convention is ending, but with competitive races up and down the ballot and just 67 days until November’s election, delegates noted the campaign grind is far from over.

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