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Meet your delegates: the people who will vote for presidential candidates at the conventions

Trump supporter Don Hartmann Sr. of Collinsville talks about being a delegate for Donald Trump

Doug Hartmann Sr. of Collinsville said he's not certain how he became a delegate for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Hartmann said he ordered a Trump cap, which apparently got him onto a campaign mail list. The next thing he knew, he
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Doug Hartmann Sr. of Collinsville said he's not certain how he became a delegate for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Hartmann said he ordered a Trump cap, which apparently got him onto a campaign mail list. The next thing he knew, he

Stella Kozanecki didn’t like the way Donald Trump talked about a female journalist, so she contacted his campaign to voice her displeasure. Now she’s a Trump supporter.

Lynne Schwartzhoff, a college English instructor in Belleville, likes what Bernie Sanders has to say.

Sharee Langenstein, a lawyer, favors Ted Cruz because she views him as the best candidate to defend the Constitution.

Al Adomite, the mayor of Troy, went with Jeb Bush, while Dina Burch, a Madison County circuit clerk employee, went with Hillary Clinton.

Doug Hartmann Sr. of Collinsville bought a Trump “Make America Great Again” cap, and the next thing he knew, the Trump campaign was contacting him with a request.

Becky Wuest of Belleville caught the eye of Sanders’ coordinators after she helped start an online Sanders forum on Reddit.

What they have in common is that their names are on the ballot for the March 15 primary, as delegates for their preferred presidential candidates.

Presidential delegates are the people who go to the Republican National Convention or the Democratic National Convention and help choose their party’s candidate for president.

In Illinois, the election of delegates typically hasn’t been too fascinating. But this presidential primary is a horse of a different color, particularly on the unsettled Republican side, with the Trump drama.

The delegate hopefuls who metro-east voters will see on the ballot cover a spectrum. Some are political party lieutenants or elected officeholders with knowledge of the delegate system.

Others are political newbies, who are learning as they go.

Take Hartmann, a 68-year-old real estate agent. How did he become a Trump delegate?

“That’s an interesting question,” he said. “I don’t know for sure. I think my name was probably picked out of some kind of hat.”

Hartmann said he’s been “a vocal Trump supporter” and bought a Trump cap when they first went on sale.

“I guess that got me onto a mail list,” Hartmann said.

The Trump campaign contacted Hartmann and asked him to be a delegate. Hartmann then collected the 100 Republican voter signatures needed to get his name on the ballot.

Hartmann said Trump campaign people in Springfield helped him navigate the process, but not much.

“I don’t know if I’m supposed to put up a Trump sign or a Hartmann sign,” he said. “I don’t know what goes on at a convention, but I’m looking forward to casting a vote for Trump.”

Hartmann said he’s never been involved in politics, except for sending an occasional check to a candidate.

Hartmann doubts that attempts to block Trump from winning the nomination will work.

“I think it’s a bunch of old men — obviously older than I am — who don’t have control and are losing their minds over not having control. I think it’s a selfish move by the Republican Party,” Hartmann said.

“I’m angry at the Republican Party. I’m angry at government,” he said. “They’re attacking a guy who’s done something instead of eating at the public trough.”

I’m angry at the Republican Party. I’m angry at government.

Doug Hartmann Sr., a Trump delegate

Kozanecki, 80, of Mount Vernon, worked at an insurance company before retiring. She said she hasn’t been involved in politics. “I’ve never campaigned for anyone, never run for an office,” she said.

Kozanecki followed news coverage of the primary races and didn’t like the way Trump spoke about Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

“I found an email address for him, and told him I thought he owed Megyn Kelly an apology, and needed to clean up his rhetoric,” Kozanecki said.

Kozanecki added in the email, however, that she liked Trump’s position on border security and the military.

“A couple weeks later, I got an email asking if I’d give them some biographical information. Then, they asked if I’d like to be a delegate,” Kozanecki said.

I found an email address for him, and told him I thought he owed Megyn Kelly an apology, and needed to clean up his rhetoric. A couple weeks later, I got an email asking if I’d give them some biographical information. Then, they asked if I’d like to be a delegate.

Stella Kozanecki, a Trump delegate

So Kozanecki went about collecting the 100 signatures. To find Republicans to sign her candidate petition, she went to the county clerk’s office and got voting records from a previous Republican primary. Then she knocked on doors and got 110 signatures — 10 extra — “just to be on the safe side.”

Kozanecki said she would have attended a rally Trump held in Springfield in November, but she was having surgery. She said she has a couple of Trump signs and plans to put one along the road near her home.

“I don’t think I’ll go out and stump for him in the primary, because it looks to me like he’ll get it sewn up pretty quickly,” she said. “For the general election, I’ll go out and knock on doors and ask people to vote for him.”

Why does Kozanecki like Trump?

“I like him because he is not obligated to anybody. We elected a whole group of so-called conservative members of the House, and they just passed the biggest budget there ever was and gave Obama everything he wanted,” she said. “The main thing is that he doesn’t come with strings attached — I really like that for a change.”

Schwartzhoff, a Sanders delegate, teaches English at Southwestern Illinois College. Schwartzhoff said she hasn’t been involved in politics before and has never attended a national political convention.

“I care about politics, I care about the effect it has on our community and our country, but I have never really been involved,” she said.

Schwartzhoff said she followed Sanders’ congressional career. When he announced he was seeking the Democrat nomination, she quickly became a supporter — volunteering and trying to round up other supporters.

“Then someone from the campaign called and interviewed me about being a delegate. They got back to me a couple weeks later,” she said.

Schwartzhoff collected the signatures she needed to get on the ballot, and then helped other delegates collect the signatures they needed.

“I’ve done some phone-banking for him. He just recently opened a campaign office in Collinsville, so I’m working with the field organizers,” Schwartzhoff said. “I currently volunteer to phone-bank and will soon be doing door-to-door canvassing to answer questions about Sen. Sanders and encourage people to vote in the Democratic primary.”

Schwartzhoff, 51, said she appreciates that Sanders isn’t financed by corporations and super PACs. She supports his proposal to tax certain stock and bond trades to pay for free education at public universities.

“Education is very expensive, and he makes the argument that most people need to have a college education to get a job that offers a good standard of living, so why should that be different from K-through-12 education?” she said.

Education is very expensive, and he makes the argument that most people need to have a college education to get a job that offers a good standard of living, so why should that be different from K-through-12 education?

Lynn Schwartzhoff, a Sanders delegate

Schwartzhoff said the proposal for free college isn’t the only reason Sanders enjoys support among young adults.

“I think the young voters are a lot more egalitarian than older people. I think they have a sense of community among themselves that adults don’t fully appreciate,” she said. “They have much more of a sense that they’re in this with other people.”

She added: “I don’t think it’s about the ‘free stuff,’ like a lot of people say. I don’t think that’s driving it. I think it’s a sense of community.”

Would she vote for Clinton if Clinton wins the Democrat nomination?

“I don’t know,” Schwartzhoff said. “I haven’t really thought all the way through that.”

Wuest, another Sanders delegate, works as a marketing director at a small business in Belleville. The 30-year-old majored in political science in college. Sanders’ candidacy quickly caught her attention.

“A lot of people were all pretty excited because they wanted a progressive leader, something he’s been his whole political career,” Wuest said. “We were forming this grassroots movement online, using Reddit.”

She and some others on the forum began working on a Sanders website.

“Several of us got together and worked on this website to discuss his policies, feelthebern.org,” Wuest said. “Through that activism, and through some grassroots meetings ... my name was thrown into the ring — they asked me if I wanted to be a delegate, and I was honored.”

Wuest said she’s done some phone-banking and has helped staff a Sanders campaign office in Collinsville.

Wuest said although she was interested in politics before, she had not previously been involved in politics. Sanders campaign people have sent emails and called Wuest about the delegate duties.

“It’s been really fascinating, learning about the subject in college and then actually being a part of it,” Wuest said.

Does she wish the Democrat primary had the intrigue and drama of the Republican primary?

“No, I’m actually kind of pleased that our candidates have been sticking to the issues, instead of personal attacks,” Wuest said.

Burch, a Clinton delegate, is a chief deputy in the Madison County circuit clerk’s office. She’s long been involved in Democrat Party politics.

“I was asked by the Madison County Democratic Party if I’d like to be a delegate for Hillary,” Burch said. “I figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

I’ve been watching the Republican debates. I kind of find it hard to believe what’s going on with those debates, and how they’re talking with each other and creating so much drama.

Dina Burch, a Clinton delegate

Burch, who has never served as a delegate before and has never attended a national party convention, said it would be exciting to attend the convention — especially if Clinton ends up being the country’s first female presidential nominee.

Burch said she and other delegate hopefuls went out together to collect the required petition signatures. The Clinton campaign has been giving her information about the delegate process.

“We have a conference call about every week, and it’s for all the potential delegates for Hillary in the state of Illinois,” Burch said. “They’ve sent us a little bit of information for the convention — the hotel where we’ll be staying at and how to make reservations, but we can’t do that until after the primary.”

Burch said she didn’t pay much attention to the delegate process in the past.

“In the past, I just voted for the delegates for the candidate that I was going to vote for. It’s been interesting to learn more about the process, and I’m still learning,” she said.

Burch, like Wuest, said she doesn’t wish for the intrigue of the GOP primary.

“I think there’s still a chance that Bernie could collect some delegates, and it could get to be a close race, but no,” Burch said. “I’ve been watching the Republican debates. I kind of find it hard to believe what’s goiing on with those debates, and how they’re talking with each other and creating so much drama.”

Langenstein is an attorney in Murphysboro who also is seeking the Republican nomination to run for state senator in Illinois’ 58th Senate District.

Langenstein at one point home-schooled a daughter who has a disability, and she became involved with other Illinois home-schoolers who were monitoring legislation in Springfield. Through those connections, she came to the attention of Rick Santorum, a former home-schooler, and served as a delegate for him four years ago.

This election season, the Cruz campaign contacted her.

“I was asked. The Cruz campaign contacted me and asked me to become a delegate for him,” Langenstein said. “Senator Cruz is someone who stands up for the Constitution, and I’m someone who is very passionate about standing up for the Constitution.”

Langenstein also has experience in election law and represented Cruz in a lawsuit in Chicago over the Cruz “birther” issue.

Langenstein thinks it’s possible that the Republican nomination is not settled by the time the convention rolls around.

“I think it’s possible we could end up with a brokered convention,” she said.

If she is elected in the 12th Congressional District to be a delegate, the party rules dictate that Langenstein would have to cast her first vote for Cruz. In later votes, however, if Cruz were to “release” his delegates, they would be free to vote for another candidate.

“That’s when all the wheeling and dealing takes place,” Langenstein said. “If it got to the point where I was released, I would vote according to the way the people of the 12th Congressional District voted.”

Some pundits have suggested that Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio might form an alliance to try to beat Trump.

“I see it as possible, yes. I don’t know. I think the only possibility there is if Cruz is at the top of the ticket, and Rubio is veep,” Langenstein said.

Langenstein said she’s been able to meet with Cruz a couple of times, at Eagle Forum functions.

Adomite said even though Bush has dropped his candidacy, being a delegate for Bush gave him an opportunity to meet the candidate during a stop in Missouri.

“It was a neat opportunity to be able to be in a small group and meet the governor. He’s very impressive,” Adomite said.

Adomite doubts there will be a contested GOP convention.

“I think brokered conventions are mythical things that happened a long time ago,” he said.

I think brokered conventions are mythical things that happened a long time ago.

Al Adomite, a Bush delegate

Adomite has been involved in Republican politics for a long time. A brother-in-law, who is a Republican officeholder in Champaign County, was affiliated with the Bush campaign, and recommended Adomite as a delegate in the 15th Congressional District.

“I think Illinois’ primary still could play a big role in the national convention,” Adomite said. “With Cruz winning Texas, and if it stays kind of a three-person race, Illinois could still be a big player in the Republican nomination.”

Democrat delegates

Candidates to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention from July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

Delegate

Candidate

District

Christopher R. Belt

Clinton

12th

Dina Rene Burch

Clinton

12th

Jennifer Gomric Minton

Clinton

12th

Kevin Lynn Starr

Clinton

12th

LaToya N. Greenwood

Clinton

12th

Ray Coleman

O’Malley

12th

Cynthia Coleman

O’Malley

12th

Matt Hawkins

O’Malley

12th

Kim Irving Haywood Sr.

O’Malley

12th

Hannah Auten

Sanders

12th

Cody Lueker

Sanders

12th

Kyle Hicks

Sanders

12th

Kenneth G. Sharkey

Sanders

12th

Rebecca Wuest

Sanders

12th

Karen Sandefur

Sanders

12th

Lynne Schwartzhoff

Sanders

12th

Andy Manar

Clinton

13th

Cinda Klickna

Clinton

13th

Michael G. Matejka

Clinton

13th

Doris Jean Turner

Clinton

13th

Rick Terven

Clinton

13th

Jarod Hitchings

O’Malley

13th

Naomi D. Jakobsson

Sanders

13th

Aaron Ammons

Sanders

13th

Matthew Pasquini

Sanders

13th

Pamella Gronemeyer

Sanders

13th

Zachary Braun

Sanders

13th

Marcey Goldstein

Sanders

13th

Dennis Fisher

Clinton

15th

Ann Sykes

Clinton

15th

Brandt Elliot Patterson

Clinton

15th

Brooks Nicole Taylor

Clinton

15th

John R. Warner

O’Malley

15th

Cory Douglas

Sanders

15th

Amanda Benefiel

Sanders

15th

Barbara Lawrence

Sanders

15th

Republican delegates

Candidates to be delegates to the Republican National Convention from July 18-21 in Cleveland.

Delegate

Candidate

District

Gloria Campos

Bush

12th

George W. Obernagel III

Bush

12th

Amy Sholar

Bush

12th

Nathan Chaney

Trump

12th

Stella Kosanecki

Trump

12th

Herb Underwood

Trump

12th

Adam Dohm

Christie

12th

Jennifer Dohm

Christie

12th

Richard Knight

Christie

12th

Mark Minor

Cruz

12th

Sharee Langenstein

Cruz

12th

Clifford Lindemann

Cruz

12th

Juanita “Sue” Hamilton

Fiorina

12th

Scott Albert

Fiorina

12th

Robert Fulk

Fiorina

12th

Dustin Throgmorton

Paul

12th

Jonathan Crotser

Paul

12th

Devin Johnson

Paul

12th

Michael Evans

Carson

12th

Brandi Jewell

Carson

12th

Gloria Pittman

Carson

12th

Terri Bryant

Rubio

12th

Chris Slusser

Rubio

12th

Travis Akin

Rubio

12th

Thomas McRae

Kasich

12th

Michelle Rodely

Kasich

12th

Alan Dale Hastings

Kasich

12th

Adam M. Brown

Bush

13th

Martin Davis

Bush

13th

Gordy Hulten

Bush

13th

Toni Gauren

Trump

13th

Doug Hartmann

Trump

13th

Raja Sadiq

Trump

13th

James Kammer

Cruz

13th

Mark Strang

Cruz

13th

Nicholas Krammer

Cruz

13th

Gregory Stanek

Christie

13th

Kristin Williamson

Christie

13th

Mark Ballard

Christie

13th

Allen “Al” Deutsch

Fiorina

13th

Joan Dykstra

Fiorina

13th

Donna Giertz

Fiorina

13th

Stuart King

Carson

13th

John Elder

Carson

13th

Susan Gant Reynolds

Carson

13th

Cory Mark Jobe

Kasich

13th

Kevin J. Breheny

Kasich

13th

John J. Farney

Kasich

13th

Fredrick Floreth

Paul

13th

John Bambanek

Paul

13th

Timothy V. Johnson

Rubio

13th

Roy Hertel

Rubio

13th

Michael McCormick

Rubio

13th

Allen Adomite

Bush

15th

David Albin

Bush

15th

Jean Myers

Bush

15th

Maria Hough

Trump

15th

Philip Chapman

Trump

15th

Sam Stratemeyer

Trump

15th

Joseph Judge

Christie

15th

Kristi Starbuck

Christie

15th

Charles Acton

Christie

15th

Chapin Rose

Cruz

15th

Brian Milleville

Cruz

15th

Loren Heal Sr.

Cruz

15th

Kathryn Swan

Fiorina

15th

Grant Gee

Fiorina

15th

Julie Gee

Fiorina

15th

James M. Schultz

Kasich

15th

Patrick O’Shaughnessy

Kasich

15th

Kristina Stephenson

Kasich

15th

Diante S. Johnson

Carson

15th

Linden Warfel

Carson

15th

Reginald H. Phillips

Carson

15th

Jesse Green

Paul

15th

Joe Vonderheid

Paul

15th

Dale Righter

Rubio

15th

Jason Plummer

Rubio

15th

Robert “Bob” Winchester

Rubio

15th

Who are the delegates?

Delegates are often party activists, local political leaders, or early supporters of a given candidate. Presidential campaigns often court local and state politicians for their slate of delegates because they can bring the support of their political constituencies. Delegates also might include members of a campaign’s steering committee or longtime active members of their local party organization.

How do candidates win delegates?

In Illinois, it’s a complicated process on the Democrat side. Based on their vote totals, the Democrat presidential candidates get a proportional amount of delegates in each congressional district. There’s also a gender-balance rule on the Democrat side, which requires a certain number of males and females as delegates.

So, if a particular congressional district has five delegate slots, and Clinton earns three of the delegates, the winning delegates would be: the male Clinton delegate with the most votes, the female Clinton delegate with the most votes, the male Clinton delegate with the next-most votes, the female Sanders delegate with the most votes, and the male Sanders delegate with the most votes.

The Republican process in Illinois is more straight-forward, similar to an election of members of a city council. The highest vote-getters among the delegate candidates are the winners. If three GOP delegates are to be elected in a particular congressional district, there might be, for example, one Trump delegate, one Cruz delegate and one Rubio delegate — or they might all three be Trump delegates.

How many delegates will metro-east voters select?

On the Republican side, there will be three delegates chosen in each of our congressional districts: the 12th, 13th and 15th districts.

On the Democrat side, there will be six chosen in the 12th Congressional District, five chosen in the 13th Congressional District and four chosen in the 15th Congressional District.

The parties decide on the number of delegates to be awarded in each congressional district.

How many delegates are needed to win the nomination?

In order to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate must win 2,383 delegates at the national convention. Currently, there are expected to be 4,765 delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

In order to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a candidate must win 1,237 delegates at the national convention. There are expected to be a total of 2,472 delegates at the Republican National Convention.

When and where are the national conventions?

The Republican convention is July 18-21 in Cleveland.

The Democrat convention is July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

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