Students at Ohio Wesleyan University have spoken, voting for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to be the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his running mate — at their 2016 mock convention on Friday and Saturday.
Kasich was selected as the mock convention’s presidential nominee following a run-off election with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Also nominated were current GOP hopefuls Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
No run-off was needed for Haley, who defeated U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and wrestler/rapper/actor John Cena in first-round voting to earn a spot as Kasich’s running mate.
Although it wasn’t part of a class, students participated as delegates for all 50 states at the mock convention, an OWU tradition dating back to 1884 and now held every four years.
They simulated a presidential nominating convention over the course of two days, picking a platform and a presidential ticket in Gray Chapel. Placards for each state’s delegation were tied to seats, and state’s banners hung from the balcony. Ohio’s banner reflected its important swing state status.
Because the event always features the party out of the White House, this year’s mock convention spotlighted the Republicans and the candidates seeking the nomination. The convention theme was “Back on the Right Track.”
On Friday, the convention began with ROTC students from Hayes High School presenting the colors and the singing of the national anthem. After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, convention chairs were installed, and a report on rules and credentials was given.
U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi gave the opening message and, after a platform preview, the students had a barbecue dinner. When the convention resumed, former Ohio House Jo Speaker Ann Davidson spoke about the platform message. Reports on the platform featured social policy, economic policy and foreign policy.
“In considering our nation’s grave problems, we have relied upon our Grand Party’s values: constitutional conservatism, personal liberty, religious freedom and limited government,” states the platform’s preamble. The preamble recommended returning “the federal government’s to a limited role in influencing social policy.” In economics, “it is vital that the federal government stop subsidizing behaviors that destroy both fairness and efficiency in the marketplace.” Finally, “in a world of growing insecurity, America must lead in diplomacy and military primacy.”
After preliminaries, Saturday’s convention started with an opening message from Jeff Benton, an OWU trustee and Delaware County commissioner. Then began the nominating and balloting for presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Then, debate awards and delegation participation awards were presented before adjourning. Four years from now, a new group of students will hold the 2020 mock convention.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.