From the floor: What it’s like at the Republican National Convention


Illinois REALTORS President Mike Drews at the microphone on the floor of the Quicken Loans Center at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Illinois REALTORS President Mike Drews at the microphone on the floor of the Quicken Loans Center at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The days start early and end late, but it’s a small price to pay for getting a first-hand look at a National Political Convention.

Illinois REALTOR® Blog caught up with President Mike Drews as he was about to go to a state delegation luncheon to ask about his first full day in Cleveland.

The take-aways: Excitement is building. Security is incredibly tight. And it’s interesting to note the stage management that comes along with producing an event such as this one.

The speeches: Drews and President-Elect Doug Carpenter got access yesterday to the convention floor where they had a chance to see the afternoon speakers.

Top orators for Drews were Marcus Lattrell, who was decorated for service fighting the Taliban; U.S. Rep. Greg Waldenof Oregon and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts.

“I would gather as we get to the session tonight as, things will ramp up,” said Drews. “I think the people will on main floor are going to get more excited.”

Drews said he was struck by the diversity represented during the afternoon session. He said it was clear the GOP was making an effort to tell the story of a party that is inclusive.

Stage management: When everyone gets up to cheer, it may be because there are “carnival barkers” urging the crowd on. Drews said he and others in the delegation noticed officials who had the role of making sure excitement was evident.

“When they needed applause or standing ovation they had you get up and cheer, Drews said.

Connections can happen anywhere: On the bus on Sunday a reporter exchanged numbers with Drews to keep tabs on the Illinois delegation.

At the morning breakfasts there’s practically a roll call of GOP congressional representatives, including Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam and Rodney Davis, to name a few.  After the reception, Drews ended up chatting with Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

“Relationships are definitely continued here,” Drews said.

A speaker this morning was Corey Lewandowski, formerly with the Trump campaign who spoke glowingly of his former boss. A lunch yesterday featured Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to reports.

Security is insanely tight: Drews said there are sharpshooters on rooftops, and at times buses into the convention area have a Homeland Security officer aboard.

“There are no protestors anywhere around us,” Drews said. “Along the lakefront the expressways were shut down. It was really kind of spooky,”

Drews said he’s run into squads of police officers from across the country. They all travel together in groups of five or more for security reasons. “Everywhere there are three or four layers of security.”

What’s next: After a breakfast and a lunch with the Illinois delegation, Illinois REALTORS® will have reserved seats in the Quicken Loans Center. Unless someone can finagle better passes, they won’t have the floor access they did last night to see speeches on the theme of improving the U.S. economy.


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