CLEVELAND, OHIO (MEDIA GENERAL) — Just as in Washington, proximity to power at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week is of utmost value.
In this case, the crown jewel is a seat close to the stage of the Quicken Loans arena from which party brass will whip up the 2,427 delegates on hand.
Each state and territory’s delegates are seated together. And prime spots up front aren’t just drawn out of a hat.
A front row — or similarly select — placement for states usually comes down to one of three factors:
– Close connection to party nominee or planning committee
– Voted for eventual nominee during the grueling primary battle
– Contains a large amount of crucial electoral swing votes
Looking at the RNC floor chart for Donald Trump’s nomination, the party kept with tradition.
New York is front and center. It’s Trump’s home state. The Empire State voted for the billionaire over his competitors. And they’ll be roaring on Thursday as he accepts the party’s 2016 nomination.
California and New Jersey are similarly positioned as a favor to Trump loyalists, who backed the businessman even when he struggled to find footing with the establishment. It’s unlikely these states would stand a chance of going blue, but the gesture is surely appreciated.
Florida, a perennial swing state with enormous electoral clout, will also enjoy center cut seats smack dab in the heart of the arena.
States which broke for Trump’s rivals are a different story.
Delegations not in Trump’s good graces will largely be banished to the back of the room, cheering for their nominee from afar.
The RNC gavels into session Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. and Melania Trump will deliver the evening’s keynote address in primetime.
Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales