LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – When the 2012 Republican National Convention kicked off Monday in Tampa, Florida, delegate Sue Lynch was on the floor.
"You just want to scream and yell, no matter what age you are," said Lynch, of Onalaska.
"Tears came to my eyes because I still have the same enthusiasm I did when I got involved in politics in 1974," she said.
"The convention really is a rally," said Dr. Tim Dale, Professor of Political Science at the UW-La Crosse. "It's a party for people to rally in support of their candidates."
Dale added conventions also provide an opportunity for under the radar candidates to electrify and captivate voters with prime time speeches.
President Barack Obama, then a State Senator from Illinois, delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention.
Four years later, he was his party's Presidential nominee.
"A lot of people see it as an opportunity for the major candidates to present themselves to the nation," said Vicki Burke, chair of the La Crosse County Democrats.
"We get an opportunity to meet with leaders of the Democratic Party and converse with them," said Burke, who will be a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.
"It energizes us so we can come back and spread that energy to those who are here," she said.
Burke added convention delegates keep busy during the day.
Among the activities she's excited for is simply mingling with other delegates.
"It's an opportunity to meet people from other areas of the country and to get an idea about what issues are important to them," Burke said.
"You're talking to people and you're trying to convince them your position on a certain issue is helpful to the party," said Dr. Cecilia Manrique, of the UW-La Crosse's Political Science Department.
Then, of course, there are the official Presidential nominations.
"Nothing is for sure until that roll call vote is taken," said Lynch. "Although (former) Governor Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee and he's coming into this convention strong and organized."
Burke said even President Barack Obama will have to be officially nominated via standard, party protocol.
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