Illinois out of the limelight for GOP convention speakers

  • Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker, right, and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan will be on the main stage podium for the Republican National Convention, but that's about as close as Illinois gets to the limelight.

    Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker, right, and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan will be on the main stage podium for the Republican National Convention, but that's about as close as Illinois gets to the limelight. Associated Press/2016

 
 
Posted7/17/2016 7:03 AM

Most Illinois delegates headed to the Republican National Convention arrive in Cleveland on Sunday for evening welcome concerts and a week of fanfare leading to Donald Trump's acceptance of the party's nomination for president.

Much has been made of the speaking lineup for the week's convention, but what viewers won't see is anyone with strong Illinois political ties taking the main stage, at least according to the speaker list released so far.

 

Former Trump opponents Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who campaigned with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2014, are set to speak this week. But that's as close as Illinois gets to the limelight.

Indeed, one classic Chicago figure who had been rumored to be speaking, former Bears head coach Mike Ditka, says he won't make the trip.

Trump won Illinois' primary by a comfortable margin in March, so his delegates dominate Illinois' delegation. Starting Monday, the delegation will meet for breakfast every morning long before the main stage lights go up.

A lot of news shows will broadcast from the convention site today, though it will be Monday before events get under way in earnest.

Security has been beefed up in Cleveland, which won't surprise anyone who attended Trump's rally in Chicago in March, which was canceled at the last minute after protests broke out. But with a last-ditch Republican challenge to Trump's nomination was squashed last week, it remains to be seen whether there will be serious interruptions to Trump's big party.

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