Once a politically split household, A.J. and Angie Daoud have come together to support presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. They’re hoping the same holds true of fellow delegates in Cleveland, Ohio, this week.
“This is the point in which everybody comes together,” remarked Angie Daoud.
“Historically, conventions are unifiers,” added A.J. Daoud.
The couple made their way north on Saturday to attend the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday. A.J. Daoud has twice run for the Republican nomination for the position of N.C. Secretary of State and has served as the party chair for the 5th Congressional District.
Angie Daoud is the third vice chair of the district, and has a long history of promoting the party and its candidates.
A.J. Daoud called he and his wife “Mr. and Mrs. GOP.”
The Daouds are the only Surry County residents who are headed to the floor of the GOP convention. Angie Daoud was appointed to an alternate at large seat at the state GOP convention. A.J. Daoud said he was asked to fill a seat at the district level when another delegate was unable to attend the convention in Ohio.
A.J. Daoud said, though both he and his wife are alternate delegates, they will be on the floor at the convention. Also, with cancellations always possible, the two may end up with voting slots.
“Angie is third in line,” noted A.J. Daoud.
Though many political activists aspire to attend a convention, the Daouds said it’s not all fun and games in Cleveland. Long days lie ahead for the couple.
The week begins on Sunday, explained Angie Daoud, though the convention does not begin until Monday. On Sunday all North Carolina delegates will meet at a hotel for an inner-state meeting. It’s a meeting and a bit of a party for all delegates from the Tar Heel state.
Then the long days begin. A.J. Daoud said security is a concern at the event. About 3,000 additional police officers from throughout Ohio have been pulled into Cleveland to support the local police department’s security efforts. Additionally, each state’s delegation has a Secret Security detail assigned to it.
“We have to be at the hotel every day at 7 a.m. for credentialing,” explained A.J. Daoud. “From there we are bused to the convention. The only way in is on the bus.”
Each day’s first session does not begin until the afternoon.
Angie Daoud said the 7 a.m. show-time is only the beginning of a very long day. Most days, the convention, filled with speakers throughout the day, won’t end until about 11 p.m.
“There will be some very long days,” noted Angie Daoud.
In addition to the formal convention plans, other plans have been made for North Carolina delegates, ranging from tailgate parties to a photo session in seer sucker suits, which is apparently a long-standing tradition for delegates from North Carolina — and one to which the Daouds aren’t particularly looking forward.
Angie Daoud said all delegates recently had a teleconference with the executive director of the N.C. GOP. Two issues were discussed —security and delegates breaking their pledges.
“He assured us it won’t be a contested convention, and Trump is our guy,” remarked Angie Daoud.
She also said a Virginia court ruling releasing delegates from their pledges in that state has no effect on the pledges signed by all North Carolina delegates.
North Carolina delegates face a $10,000 fine for breaking a pledge to vote per the will of the people, and more immediately, A.J. Daoud said a delegate failing to abide by the pledge could simply have his or her credentials pulled and no longer be permitted onto the convention floor.
A.J. Daoud was a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz, but he said it’s time to get behind the GOP nominee.
“Everybody comes together,” said Angie Daoud. “I can only hope that truly happens. There are still some sour grapes out there.”
A.J. Daoud said “sour grapes” are nothing new to conventions. Dwight D. Eisenhower faced stiff competition in 1952 against Sen. Robert Taft, who was accused of playing games with delegates in the south. Eisenhower went on to defeat Adlai Stevenson by a landslide.
Ronald Reagan supporters sought to derail the re-election bid of President Gerald Ford in 1976, recounted A.J. Daoud. Though the party got behind Ford, he lost in the general election to Jimmy Carter, who Reagan would knock off in 1980.
Even as recently as 2012, some delegates have gone into the convention with their own agenda, according to A.J. Daoud. Ron Paul supporters attempted to gain traction to put Paul ahead of GOP nominee Mitt Romney that year.
A group of Cruz supporters attempted to mount a change to the rules which would have released delegates from their pledges, said the Daouds. The move won’t even make it to the floor of the convention, however. It was defeated in the rules committee by a vote of 77-12.
“Overall, we end up getting behind our nominee,” remarked Daoud.
“I’m looking most forward to seeing him (Trump) become our nominee,” said Angie Daoud. “It makes me feel like I’m proud to be an American. I love the spark he’s created across America.”
“I’m always excited to see who the next person to support Trump is.”
A.J. Daoud, noting his mother was the sergeant-at-arms at the 1968 GOP convention, said much of the convention schedule remains a mystery even to delegates. However, they have been promised a speaker who is “out of this world.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.