Thatcher was delegate to Cleveland RNC

The Republican Party has had the appearance of a house divided for some time now, with conflict among candidates for the party’s nomination in the presidential race and, more recently, between the presumptive nominee and other party leaders, who dominated national headlines more frequently than “The Apprentice” ever did.SUBMITTED PHOTO - Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), who represents Wilsonville in the Oregon State Senate, was an Oregon delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio July 18-21.

All eyes were on Cleveland July 18-21 to see whether the Republican National Convention could bridge some of those divides. To Kim Thatcher, a Keizer Republican who represents Wilsonville and other communities in the Oregon State Senate, the RNC accomplished just what it set out to. She was a delegate at the convention.

“There are disagreements over certain platform issues … but overall, I think most people appealed to the Reagan rule,” Thatcher said, referring to a quote attributed to Ronald Reagan: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20-percent traitor.”

The Oregon Republican Party selected 25 delegates and 25 alternates to attend the RNC at its state convention in Salem June 4. Thatcher, who had not been to the RNC before, was initially inspired by her husband to consider becoming a delegate — when he mentioned it to her, she agreed that it would be an interesting opportunity to be part of an event of national significance. She became an “at-large” delegate, meaning that she represented the entire state, rather than a particular congressional district.

Thatcher’s predominant impression of the RNC was of its massive scale: “It was quite an operation,” she said.

Thatcher had been worried about security prior to the convention, she said, but she found that beyond being merely adequate, security at the RNC was similarly immense in scope. She recalls the many phases of screening one had to go through even to enter the arena, and remembers swarms of police officers that would pass on bicycles while she was at a restaurant or elsewhere in Cleveland.

Among the most memorable moments of the RNC was Ted Cruz’s speech on July 20, the third night of the convention. Thatcher was chosen to attend the convention as a delegate bound to Donald Trump, although she would have preferred to vote for Ted Cruz, but she said that much of the audience looked with anticipation to Cruz’s speech — whether they were pro-Cruz or against him.

When Cruz finally spoke, he drew booing and heckling from the audience after declining to endorse Trump. Thatcher felt that Cruz’s speech was less a denouncement of Trump than an appeal to Cruz’s constituency, however.

“To me he was speaking to the people who weren’t quite on board,” she said. “I think he was laying out his case: ‘If you want this, this, or this, then vote your conscience.’ For me, that meant Trump.”

Also memorable was one of the final moments of the convention, which ended with the customary release of around 125,000 balloons and 1,000 pounds of confetti. Thatcher was struck by one of the songs played during the balloon drop: The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” She recalls thinking: “What an interesting choice!”

Thatcher felt, on the whole, that the RNC had been persuasive to her and other Republicans who may have had reservations about a Trump nomination.

“I can honestly say I feel less uncomfortable with Trump,” Thatcher said. “I felt like there were some things coming out that made me feel a little better about him being the pick.”

Hearing Trump’s children speak — Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. all spoke at the RNC — helped, Thatcher said. Hearing from employees of Trump’s made an impact as well. And Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on the final night of the convention was also effective; Thatcher felt that the candidate spoke effectively to the concerns of Americans of all political persuasions.

At the same time, Thatcher says that she can understand fellow Republicans’ skepticism.

“I’m sure there are a number of people who just aren’t there, and are questioning whether they should be Republicans anymore. I know, and I understand,” she said. “My biggest priority at this point would be to maintain the at least balance on the Supreme Court, so that we can preserve the integrity of the constitution — which helps out the nation in the long run.

“There’s no hope of going down that path … by voting for Hillary, or doing anything to help her get elected,” Thatcher added.

Thatcher said that it’s too early to say whether she’ll be at the Republican National Convention in four years, although she isn’t ready to rule out the possibility.

“It was a huge honor to a representative at the Republican National Convention,” Thatcher said. “Even though (Trump) wasn’t my first choice, it was an amazing experience, and the whole thing was an honor.”

Contact Jake Bartman at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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