Pampan gets selected to go to National Republican Convention in Jacksonville
Pampa High School Class of 2010 graduate Laura Loughmiller has had an interest in politics since she was in high school.
Her interest from politics started when she was a sophomore in high school and would sit and watch the news with her father.
“It was during Obama-McCain presidential election,” Loughmiller said. “I think I was a sophomore and I would just jump in and watch the news and not know what’s going on. He would explain what’s going on in the world and from there I couldn’t not pay attention or be interested.”
That interest has now turned into a trip to Jacksonville, Fla. next month as she will travel as a delegate to the National Republican Convention.
“It was in 2013 when I heard of somebody my age-ish going to the National Convention as an alternate and it peaked my interest,” Loughmiller said. “It starts at the county-level, after the election there is a precinct convention then the county convention. Every county in the state does them if they want to go to the state convention for their party. Then it goes to the state convention, which is comprised of all of the delegates across the state.”
Loughmiller first attended a state convention in 2013, where she learned about the process and thought it was something she’d be interested in doing.
“I knew I was obviously going to the state convention (in 2020),” Loughmiller said. “So it was just something where I told myself ‘Just try (to go to the national convention).’”
At the state convention, the party business is conducted including the party chairman, party platform, rules and more. The state convention breaks the delegates up to their congressional and senatorial districts.
Nominees from the congressional district then are selected and voted on for the national convention.
“Three people can go to the national convention from each congressional district in Texas,” Loughmiller said. “You can be nominated and if there are a lot of people nominated, they have to be narrowed down to three through speeches and campaigning until you vote for the Top 3 delegates and Top 3 alternates.”
Loughmiller’s process was slightly easier than larger districts as only three people ran for the national convention.
Every county can send a varying number of delegates to the state convention based on how many people in the county voted for the Republican governor. This year’s state convention was also virtual, which created a new set of challenges.
“We had 10 delegates from Gray County (go to the state convention),” Loughmiller said. “It was virtual. Which was a mess, but we made it work. But they all knew I wanted to try for it. I had prepared a speech and campaign materials. I emailed the graphic to every County Chairman in our District and they shared it with their delegates.
“In a more competitive district, there would have been speeches and second-day speeches until it was enough. It worked out that they nominated me and a few other people nominated others and the nominations were closed.”
The National Convention was originally slated for Charlotte, N.C., but because of COVID-19 it’s been split between Charlotte and Jacksonville Aug. 24-27.
“They will still have their formal business in Charlotte by the committee members and formal nomination for President Trump there,” Loughmiller said. “But there will be a lot of things in Jacksonville. They are calling it the convention celebration. That Thursday is when Donald Trump gives his nomination acceptance speech.”
Loughmiller, who said she learns best by actually doing the task, hopes to learn more about the process and meet more people who are involved in the process.
“I have always loved politics,” Loughmiller said. “There are so many avenues you can do with politics. I don’t even know what path to take with this. Whether it’s just being an involved citizen or a career, etc. I just want to see what doors could open and what paths I can take.”
Loughmiller has been a member of the Top O’ Texas Republican Women’s club since 2014 and said it’s been a great outlet for her political interest.
“A lot of our members were delegates for the state convention and were so supportive, and Pampa people in general were so supportive,” Loughmiller said. “That support helped me realize for myself that people are going to support me and I should just go for it.”