CLEVELAND, Ohio - Dozens of Illinois republicans are attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and many are working hard to figure out where they fit into the new political reality.
Arlington Heights' State Rep. David Harris has been checking into national Republican nominating conventions since 1976. But, like most party veterans, Harris this year backed a Republican candidate who lost to Donald Trump.
"I'm not sure that the party's going to come out of the convention unified. But I think it can be unified over the next several months," said Harris, elected John Kasich delegate.
Political newcomers dominate the Illinois delegation in Cleveland.
Stephanie Holderfield, like other Trump supporters in the delegation, is not happy that Illinois' two highest ranking Republicans -- Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Mark Kirk -- are skipping the convention because of strong disagreements with Donald Trump.
"I feel badly that they're not here. But they've made a choice. And we're going to honor their decision," said Holderfield, elected Trump Delegate.
In the absence of Rauner and Kirk, another convention rookie is the chairman of the Illinois' delegation.
"All these delegates that are here, checking in today, are solidly behind our nominee, Donald Trump. He wants stronger borders. He wants national security. He wants to support our police officers and he wants to bring middle class jobs back to our country. That's what we're here to support," said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois delegation.
About 40 elected delegates & alternates will not be showing up. Cost is key reason.