Despite having a keen interest politics for over 10 years now (nerd!) I've never attended a party convention. There are so many ways to be involved in politics, that the majority people I know in my field have never, in fact, attended a party convention.
That all changed mid-May when Andy and I attend the Virginia Republican Convention in Richmond, VA. It was actually my boss who mentioned that I might like to attend. I was very honest with him and told him I wasn't sure how one got to be a delegate on behalf of your city/county. He kindly told me all about it and Andy even more kindly agreed to spend his birthday weekend tagging along to things filled with hoards of people wearing red, white, and blue. Don't worry, though, he's paying me back by going to an Uber-nerd (read: engineer) conference in Raleigh in July.
We got Fitz a puppy-sitter for the evening and headed out in the wee hours of a Saturday morning. We left extra early so we could be sure to stop by the greatest place on earth - Waffle House! Don't knock it 'til you try it folks. Actually, just don't knock it. I love it. Dearly. However, my rendevous with WH was not meant to be. We got on the highway and 20 miles in we hit traffic. This is at 6 am, by the way. It appears the day before, there was a toxic waste spill in a town 40 minutes down the highway and they were still working on a full clean up on Saturday.
Ultimately, it's great we left so early. We were still able to get there in time for registration and schmoozing. To be honest, Andy and I spent most of the time with a I-don't-know-what's-going-on-but-I'm-excited look on our faces. On our way to our seats, we spotted my boss, a few coworkers, and a few friends. It's always and reassuring to see familiar places at a new place :).
First came the introductions, then the speeches. Andy and I had already decided who'd we support but it was fun to hear the other speakers, and those we supported, just the same. Then came voting. I thought, how long could this take? They're using an electronic counting system! I was so, so wrong. Tallying the first round of votes took four hours. Yes, four. There was nothing to do besides grab lunch. Even if downtown Richmond did have more, everyone wanted to stay close to hear the results and vote in the succeeding series (there would be at least two as there were seven candidates for Lieutenant Governor.) The Attorney General (AG) candidate was selected (governor had already been chosen), and we just had to keep narrowing down the LG candidates until someone won a majority. Ultimately, it would take 4 voting rounds total, ending up in an over 12 hour day for attendees. With each round of voting, more people left, which actually very much changed the results a person received.
Truth be told, we did not stay for the entirety. The person we had chosen as our LG candidate would not win (although he did quite well!) and, welp, we had dinner reservations. Please don't even pretend to be surprised. It's ok. We're food nerds. I found Juleps about a year ago, browsing my food blogs. It's high-end Southern comfort fare. I could not think of anything better. The restaurant was perfect. It was in a cute neighborhood, and it was a small, cozy restaurant with exposed brick and dim lighting while jazz and standards played. Here's what we ordered, per usual we did not take pictures out of courtesy to fellow patrons and the staff:
Artisanal Cheese Plate with crackers and seasonal jam
Rack of wild boar
Chocolate bourbon pecan tart
Bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
It was a perfect date night away from town.
When we got back in the car, we checked our phones to see updates from the convention. They were on the fourth round of votes at this point, but we knew we could get back in time to vote again, so I just continually checked updates while Andy drove us home.
It was a great day and I look forward to volunteering on the campaigns for AG, LG, and Governor for Virginia.
Oh, and as an added bonus. Here's this great picture. Sure it's a nice picture of two really really ridiculously good looking folks, but what really makes this picture great is the grumpy Republican lady sitting behind us. She was NOT amused.