Courtesy of the Ashland Times Gazette, written by Kristi Schweitzer on August 10, 2016
A lot went on behind the scenes to make this year’s Republican National Convention a success, and one particular Ashlander took part in leading those efforts.
For political consultant Sean Bartley, it was an opportunity to help make the convention run smoothly from the inside out.
Hired through his employment with Olson Strategies & Advertising based in Denver, Bartley was asked to be a part of the convention program team, working to engage crowds during the July 18 to 21 convention.
From leading the crowds in chants to making sure the audience present and at home stayed engaged, Bartley worked behind the scenes, blending in throughout the four days.
Serving in the political field for the past 13 years, he has worked in many forms of political campaigns, which helped prepare him for this larger scale role.
Bartley spent hours each day with the team making sure the party put its best foot forward and presented a uniform message during the week’s programming
Bartley’s day began at 7:30 each morning and didn’t end until roughly 1 a.m. the next day.
Each morning and early afternoon he worked with the team, studying the schedule of events and working with speakers on how to deliver their speeches with an interactive crowd.
“It’s one thing to read into the mirror or to people who are just sitting there timing you, and it’s another thing to know those are going to take longer because you’re going to have an interactive audience, an engaged audience,” Bartley said.
Bartley spent adequate time with many of the speakers, including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Pastor Mark Burns and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, sorting through key points in their speeches that would resonate with the audience.
He studied the schedule of events to ensure there would never be a lull in the program, but at the same time he determined when would be appropriate moments for audience members to slip out and take breaks while making sure they were present and engaged during important moments.
“It’s a tough event because you’re putting it on for two different groups. You’re putting it on for the group there, but you’re also putting it on for folks at home who can’t pick up on some of that stuff unless it really comes through,” Bartley said.
During each night’s program he spent most of his time on the floor interacting with delegates and helping the audience connect and interact with speakers.
“Sometimes it was just going out and saying ‘isn’t this speaker great?’ and they kind of go, ‘oh, there’s a speaker up there, I should probably pay attention.’ ”
One of the things Bartley worked on was finding key points in the speeches that would resonate with the audience and worked on the floor to keep the audience engaged.
Knowing what was coming in each speech helped as he was able rile up the crowd in chants and cheering and channel their energy in an organic way.
“It’s really making sure that the delegates are able to take in what’s being spoken from the podium and make sure that they feel as they’re part of the program. That was part of it,” Bartley said.
One of the highlights of the convention was leading the crowd to chant “lock her up,” in response to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s speech about Hillary Clinton.
“Part of that’s spontaneous because people are going to do that anyway, but making sure it’s amplified so that really the view of the crowd were shown,” Bartley said.
Bartley also had the opportunity to meet the Republican nominee.
At one point during rehearsal, Donald Trump invited the team on stage with him during his walk-through to shake hands with and meet the team.
“I thought it was really nice of him to take the time to invite us out. He didn’t need to do that. He was busy preparing for that evening and to take some time to do that I thought spoke a lot about him and how he feels about folks that are working with him,” Bartley said.