Tedski’s convention memories – Part 2, Balloon Drop

J Ross BrowneI was going to wait to do a second post until my brother posted. He’s been negligent and I won’t pay him for the week.

One of the examples of some of the silliness that goes on at conventions is the traditional balloon drop. In 1996, the drop became more interesting for one Arizona delegate.

Michael Crawford, who would later serve on the Tucson City Council, was a delegate that year. Crawford has a degenerative muscle disease that has confined him to a wheelchair as long as I’ve known him. The Arizona delegation that year was up in the upper rows of the United Center, which were not very accessible for him. An arrangement was made for Crawford to be able to watch the convention with the Ohio delegation, who had a place on the floor.

The balloon drop came. I don’t know if it was unusually big or not, but Crawford, lower to the ground and not very mobile, got buried in balloons. As he disappeared under the balloons, panicky Ohio delegates struggled to pop them to free him.

In the mean time, Crawford told me later, he thought the whole thing was funny. He didn’t know that the delegates were trying to free him.

Side note: that year, the venue that the Republicans had their convention in had too short a ceiling for a drop. They arranged for a way to release them from various locations on the floor.