California GOP unhappy with RNC hotel choice

Posted at 10:13 PM, May 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 23:21:12-04

Close to a thousand people from the California delegation will descend on Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, but they'll be catching their shuteye an hour away -- in Sandusky.

Members of the California delegation and the California Republican Party have been expressing their frustrations about the far-off accommodations, saying it isn't the first time they've felt left out. They were also located 30 miles away in Tampa and several bus rides away in Minneapolis. 

"It's frustrating," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice-chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "You know, Ohio is a lovely state, Lake Erie is lovely, but we have business to conduct at this convention."

California comes in with the country's largest delegation -- 172 delegates and 169 alternates, plus their guests.

Dhillon said she was told there are only four hotels in Cleveland that could accommodate a delegation that size and they're already spoken for. Three are going to the states where the three remaining presidential candidates hail from -- New York, Texas and Ohio. The fourth is for RNC committee members.

But, Dhillon said, they could have easily split the California group up into two hotels to accommodate everyone closer to the city and Quicken Loans Arena.

Instead, they will all be at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, about 60 miles away.

"With traffic and protesters that are expected, you're talking about putting a thousand people on buses for four hours and it's just unfortunate," she said.

Well, a thousand minus a few -- including Matt Shupe, a Republican delegate from California.

That's because 10 years ago, he added everyone with the same name as a friend on Facebook and now, it's paying off.

One of those Matt Shupes happens to live in Cleveland Heights and while the two have never met face to face, they've randomly kept in touch.

"Half-jokingly out of stress, he said, 'Hey, how about a visitor for the RNC?'" Matt Shupe, of Cleveland Heights, said. He works as an attorney in Public Square.

"If we could step up and show them one of our great neighborhoods, then we're going to do it," Shupe said.

So instead of a long bus ride to a faraway hotel, California Shupe will crash with Cleveland Shupe -- the two may even carpool downtown.

An RNC spokesman said they cannot confirm or comment on any hotel arrangements for the delegates.