The Hill newspaper reports that the balance of power in the Republican Party has suddenly shifted to delegates, many of whom are entering the national spotlight for the first time.
Delegates say their lives have been turned upside-down by the possibility of a contested convention in July, where their votes could decide whether Donald Trump, or another candidate, is the party’s presidential nominee.
The delegates say campaign officials, the media, friends, family and even neighbors are hounding them with questions about where they stand, with many seeking to sway their decision.
“I was getting my hair cut the other day and I got an earful,” said Luke Letlow, the chief of staff for Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) and a former delegate for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Louisiana who can now support whomever he chooses from the first ballot on.
“Everyone has been courteous, and I do a lot more listening than talking, but you just become kind of a sounding board,” he said.
The GOP has long used the delegate positions to reward people who are active in local politics. Aside from the prestige, delegates get the chance to attend the annual convention bash, which this year will be held in Cleveland.
But being a delegate is a fraught assignment this year, with Trump at risk of falling short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot.