Veteran Delegates Talk Party Unity Even As Sanders Supporters Protest

Jul 25, 2016

Many of the questions that were being asked of delegates at the Republican National Convention were about party unity. But with supporters of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton meeting up with Bernie Sanders backers, those questions are being asked of delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia too.

Delegates arriving at the official Ohio delegation hotel in Philadelphia wore their affinity on their clothes – there were Hillary Clinton pins and hats alongside Bernie Sanders t-shirts and stickers. State Rep. David Leland was the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, and almost became the head of the Democratic National Committee in 2005. Leland is among the 160 Ohio delegates at the convention in Philadelphia, and he said the questions of party unity will be resolved. “On basic fundamental issues that are important to the people of the United States of America, the Democratic Party is going to be united," Leland said. "That doesn’t mean everybody likes everybody. It’s a big organization. We have thousands and thousands of people. There’s always going to be differences of opinion.”

This is the third convention for Michael Friedman of Toledo, and he feels confident too. “I expect a real coming together, a coalescing of the Clinton and Bernie Sanders delegates and getting this thing off the ground.”

But while some delegates do admit they have concerns, they say they’ll work them out before the end of the week. CJ Prentiss was a longtime state senator from Cleveland who now lives in Ashtabula. “I come as Bernie supporter. I’m going to leave as a Hillary supporter, but with Bernie’s philosophy, his hopes and his wishes and his dreams hopefully to push Hillary in that direction.”

The delegates will all meet Monday morning for a breakfast session before heading to the Wells Fargo Center later – that’s the arena where the convention will kick off Monday afternoon.