Republican National Committeewoman for Delaware Priscilla Rakestraw and other Delaware delegates are getting warmed up for another full night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Wednesday morning former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich addressed the First State delegation at breakfast.
Rakestraw says Gingrich’s message built on the positive energy she felt last night on the floor following speeches by Ann Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“He said consider this a giant family reunion. In every family reunion, there’s one wing of the family that’s mad at the other wing of the family but they all come together for the family reunion picture at the end. And he said that what’s happening here,” said Rakestraw. “The tension is good because it sparks energy, its sparks debate and it sparks ideas.”
Rakestraw expects the sense of unity to continue building tonight when GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan speaks to delegates.
She says Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan as a running mate energized the party’s conservative base, but she believes tonight the VP nominee must seize the opportunity to connect with voters beyond the base.
“I think Paul Ryan has to step out the traditional mode people anticipate seeing him, [a conservative] dealing with the budget. He has to sell himself to the rest of the country,” said Rakestraw.
This is Rakestraw’s 10th GOP Convention and her last as Delaware’s National Commiteewoman. The longest serving member of the Republican National committee ever is stepping down after the convention. She said she’s received calls from both sides of the aisle thanking her for her service, including messages from Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Jack Markell.
“Very nostalgic, very emotional” said Rakestraw about concluding her tenure as National Commiteewoman. “Newt [Gingrich] gave a ringing endorsement of me [Tuesday] morning. He said ‘Priscilla represents the epitome of great citizenship.’ What more could you ask for after 37 years?”