By Bobby Harrison/Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef predicts the upcoming Republican National Convention will give presidential candidate Mitt Romney a chance to re-introduce himself to the country, and he said Mississippi’s 41 delegates and 38 alternates look forward to being part of the event.
Nosef met with the media Monday in advance of his departure to help prepare for the event in Tampa, Fla., next week where Romney will be selected as the GOP nominee.
After weeks of negative campaign commercials, Nosef said the state party delegates believe Romney “has an opportunity to re-introduce himself and do it in a very transparent way.”
Even though both former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich narrowly defeated Romney, former Massachusetts governor, in the March Mississippi primary, Nosef said all the delegates will be released so they can vote for Romney next week in Tampa.
The delegates are either elected by the executive committee on the congressional district level or by the state convention delegates. Nosef said the competition to be selected as a delegate is stiff, pointing out that even though he has been involved in party politics for years, this is his first convention.
Delegates from Northeast Mississippi are Chip Crane of Fulton, Karen Elam of Oxford, Donna Ruth Roberts of Oxford and Barry Wax from Amory. Also from Northeast Mississippi are three delegates who are elected officials – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran of Oxford and Roger Wicker of Tupelo and U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo.
Other elected officials who are delegates are Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith. Former Gov. Haley Barbour also is a delegate.
The alternates from Northeast Mississippi are Mark Garrett of New Albany and Doug Wright of Saltillo.
The convention starts Monday and ends Thursday.