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How Do You Become a Delegate?

There are 57 delegates from Missouri at the Republican National Convention in New York City this week. KSMU's Katie Hummel is there and reports on how these individuals were chosen to be delegates.

AS THE 2004 MISSOURI REPUBLICAN DELEGATES GATHER TOGETHER ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE CONVENTION, YOU SEE TWO DIFFERENT GROUPS.

THERE ARE THE EXPERIENCED DELEGATES.

THEY SIT AND CHAT WITH OTHER DELEGATES ABOUT PAST CONVENTIONS : PHILEDELPHIA IN 2000, SAN DIEGO IN 96, EVEN AS FAR BACK AS DETROIT IN 1980.

THEIR SEASONED VETS.

AND THEN THERE ARE THE FIRST TIMERS WHOSE LOOKS OF EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION ARE WRITTEN ALL OVER THEIR FACES.

THEY ALL MINGLE TOGETHER AND CHAT ABOUT THE UPCOMING CONVENTION AGENDAS AND SPEAKERS THEY'LL GET TO HEAR.

BUT HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

HOW DID THEY BECOME DELEGATES AND WHY?

EVEN THOUGH DELEGATES GET TO ATTEND THE CONVENTION FOR FREE, THEY SAY THEY HAVE OTHER REASONS FOR BEING THERE.

JOHN RODRIGEZ WORKS FOR A COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM IN BALDWIN MISSOURI.

THIS IS HIS FIRST CONVENTION AND HE SAYS IT'S A PRIVELDGE TO BE HERE.

SO, HOW DID JOHN BECOME A MISSOURI DELEGATE?

MANY MISOSURI DELEGATES HAVE POLITICAL TIES TO BEGIN WITH. THEY ARE ASKED TO BE DELEGATES WHEN SOMEONE NOMINATES THEM, SO WHEN THEY ARE OFFICIALLY SELECTED, IT'S REALLY NOT A SURPRISE

IT'S ALSO NOT A PROCESS OF RUNNING A CAMPAIGN WHEN SOMEONE HIGH UP REQUESTS YOUR NOMINATION.

BUT MANY SAY IT'S STILL EXCITING JUST TO BE ASKED.

JIM GAMBLE IS AN ALTERNATE DELEGATE FROM INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI.

HE SAYS HE FEELS HONORED TO BE SELECTED FOR THIS.

OTHERS SAY MISSOURI DELEGATES WORK HARD TO BE ABLE TO REPRESENT THEIR AREA.

DARRYL DEWEY IS A CONSULTANT FOR THE MISSOURI REPUBLICAN PARTY.

HE SAYS THE DELEGATES EARNED THEIR SELECTION.

BUT THE BIG QUESTION STILL REMAINS'WHY?

PAUL MAHON : AN ALTERNATE FROM SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI : QUOTES FORMER PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

SO, WHETHER THEY'RE A SEASONED VET OR NEW TO THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE, MISSOURI DELEGATES SAY THEY ARE HERE FOR A REASON.

ALL OF THEIR GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGNING HAS PAID OFF AS THEY PREPARE TO NOMINATE THEIR LEADER, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, AS THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.