The Republican National Convention has come to a close with Donald Trump the undisputed presidential nominee for the GOP. Despite the protests from anti-Trump delegates that broke out on the floor July 18, the first day of the convention, the convention ended with the party unifying behind the chosen candidate, said Barbara Campbell Harvey, secretary of the Maine Republican Party.
Campbell Harvey, formerly of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, and Wiscasset, attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland from July 18-21. While some members of the party were not happy with Trump’s nomination, the convention ended with a spirit of cooperation, respect, and support for Trump, Campbell Harvey said.
“It’s just like family,” Campbell Harvey said. “You go in with different ideas, but you leave united.”
The Republican National Convention began with an anti-Trump bloc of delegates attempting to change the rules of the convention to allow delegates to vote how they chose and not be bound to the results of the caucuses and primaries, according to media reports. The convention ended with an auditorium filled to capacity chanting Trump’s name, Campbell Harvey said.
Campbell Harvey equated the swell of popular support for Trump to the swell of popular support that elected Gov. Paul LePage twice.
“We are seeing history in the making,” Campbell Harvey said. “The election system is undergoing a dramatic change.” The candidates the people want are not the traditional politicians, and the 2016 presidential election will not be the traditional Republican-versus-Democrat election, she said.
Campbell Harvey is a lifelong Republican, she said, and well-known in Lincoln County. While living in Lincoln County, she was active with the Lincoln County Republican Committee, and, after moving to Portland, she became active with the Cumberland County Republican Committee.
Campbell Harvey is also active with the Maine chapter of the National Federation of Republican Women, which is organizing voter registration drives leading up to the November election.
In 2015, Campbell Harvey was elected secretary of the Maine Republican Party. The Republican National Convention was the first she had attended since the ’80s.
“It was a blast,” Campbell Harvey said. “You get into a room full of people who share the same hopes, ideas, and values. It’s invigorating,” she said.
Each day of the convention had a different theme, but each theme fell under the overarching theme that has been Trump’s battle cry in his presidential bid – make America great again.
The theme for day one was “make America safe again,” with speakers that focused on security. The second day’s theme was “make America work again,” which focused on welfare reform. The third day was “make America first again,” which focused on innovators in the U.S. The final day was “make America one again,” which focused on overcoming racial and social divisions, Campbell Harvey said.
Campbell Harvey wore a “crazy hat” decorated with red, white, and blue ribbons and stars to all the events at the convention. She connected with colleagues from across the nation, she said.
During the nomination process Tuesday, July 19, Michigan asked to announce the vote of its delegates last, so the vote of the New York delegates would cinch the nomination for Trump, Campbell Harvey said. The request was made as a show of respect to Trump and his home state of New York, she said.
The 23 Maine delegates were split in the candidate they supported, which was based on the results of the caucuses throughout the state. Ted Cruz won 12 of Maine’s delegates, Donald Trump nine, and John Kasich two.
“It was hard for people who were Cruz supporters,” Campbell Harvey said. “Everyone wants their team to win.”
As the official representative of the GOP, Trump reached out to all factions of the party and asked them to stand behind him, Campbell Harvey said. “Trump asked for everyone’s endorsement,” she said.
According to Campbell Harvey, Trump told the evangelical wing he was not sure if he deserves their support, but he was asking for it.
Those in attendance said they would take the message of unity back to their respective states to solidify GOP support for Trump, Campbell Harvey said.
“If there’s an R behind your name, I am behind you and I will work for you,” Campbell Harvey said. “On the day of the election, I will have given it everything I have.”
The Maine Republican Party often says the GOP has a big tent that is held up by the pillars of fiscal and social responsibility, strong national security, and small government, Campbell Harvey said.
The stakes are high for the 2016 presidential campaign, and the GOP is coming together to support Trump, Campbell Harvey said. While Campbell Harvey recognized some Republicans may still be dissatisfied with the Trump nomination, she encouraged all Republicans to put work in where they feel they can, either on the local, state, or national level.
“If you don’t like a candidate, then work for the ones that you do like. Do the groundwork; make sure your candidate is elected to the school committee,” Campbell Harvey said.
“This is a participatory democracy,” Campbell Harvey said. “You don’t just get to sit home.”