South Carolina has 50 delegates and 50 alternates at the national Republican convention that gets underway in Cleveland on Monday.
Many in the delegation say there’s a nervous anticipation of what could be a unique convention in the party’s history, given the nature of likely nominee Donald Trump’s campaign.
“I think we’re going to living history over the next week as we look at even perhaps a different type of speaker who’s going to be at the convention and a different feel,” said Randy Page, a delegate from Greenville. “But ultimately bringing all of us to Cleveland to unify us against Hillary Clinton, that’s the goal.”
The speakers for the GOP convention’s first day seem to suggest this will be a different sort of convention than the usual political speeches. Scheduled to speak on Monday are actor Scott Baio and “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson, and Trump’s wife Melania. On the other end of the spectrum are security operators and Battle of Benghazi veterans Willie Geist and John Tiegen.
South Carolina’s delegation heard from Arkansas US Sen. Tom Cotton during breakfast Monday morning. Cotton, considered a rising star in the GOP, spoke about foreign policy. He blamed the Obama Administration for allowing the power void in Iraq and Syria that led to ISIS’s rise, but did not mention Trump by name in his speech. Cotton had previously spoken at the South Carolina GOP’s annual “Silver Elephant Dinner” in Columbia earlier this year, sparking rumors that he is considering his own presidential run in the future.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is also a delegate at what is now his sixth convention. McMaster, who was the first elected official in South Carolina to back Trump, said said there is a lot of excitement among Republicans eager to see what happens next.
“My prediction is there will be more people watching the Republican presidential convention this time than at any time in history,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “And I think we’ll have a lot more people watching than are watching the competitors.”
All of South Carolina’s delegates are pledged to Trump, who won the state by ten percentage points in February. There have been rumbles of a possible revolt vote from delegates who do not support Trump as the party’s nominee, but the Palmetto State’s delegation leadership has preached unity for the most part.
List of convention speakers on Monday, July 18
Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander, star of Duck Dynasty
Governor Rick Perry, Former Governor of Texas
Marcus Luttrell, U.S. Navy SEAL, author of the book Lone Survivor
Scott Baio, Actor and Television Producer
Pat Smith, Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith
Mark Geist, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazior 12 years.
John Tiegen, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazi
Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, The Brian Terry Foundation
Antonio Sabato, Jr., Actor
Mary Ann Mendoza, Immigration Reform Advocate
Sabine Durden, Immigration Reform Advocate
Jamiel Shaw, Immigration Reform Advocate
U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (TX-10)
David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County
U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-7)
Rachel Campos Duffy, Author and Commentator
Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)
Karen Vaughn, Mother of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City
Melania Trump, Businesswoman and Wife of Donald Trump
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, U.S. Army (ret.)
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
Jason Beardsley, former Master Sergeant, U.S. Special Forces
U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (MT)