By MAX FILBY
CLEVELAND — Some familiar Findlay faces are missing from the Republican National Convention this week.
No elected officials from Findlay are known to be attending the convention, although Republicans dominate local politics.
Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik said she chose to not attend the convention for personal reasons.
Mihalik was planning on going to a separate Cleveland ceremony for Gov. John Kasich and a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Tuesday, but her schedule did not allow her to, she said.
Mihalik said she thinks it’s important for elected officials to participate in the convention, if they can.
“First and foremost, unless you are a delegate or an alternate, unless you have contributed, you wouldn’t necessarily need to be there in the Q,” Mihalik said.
Mihalik served as an honorary delegate at the 2012 convention in Tampa when Republicans nominated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president.
Hancock County Republican Party Chairman Jim Baker had also planned on going to Cleveland, but was unable to at the last minute for personal reasons.
State Rep. Robert Sprague of Findlay is also absent from this week’s convention. Sprague is vacationing with his family in North Carolina.
“Interestingly enough, they’ve been able to have these conventions without me,” Sprague joked.
State Sen. Cliff Hite also is not expected to join the convention, according to alternate delegate Heather Pendleton and Hancock County Board of Elections Director Jody Beall O’Brien. Hite did not return calls for comment this week.
Findlay Auditor Jim Staschiak said he was too busy to attend the GOP convention.
None of the three Hancock County commissioners is expected to attend this week, either. Brian Robertson and Mark Gazarek are out of state, and Phil Reigle does not plan on traveling to Cleveland, an official at the commissioners’ office said.
O’Brien was also unable to go to the convention and said, “It just didn’t work out this time.”
O’Brien did attend the 2004 convention in New York and said it was a good experience.
None of the officials said they were not attending because they do not support Donald Trump, although Mihalik said she has not yet decided who she will vote for in November.
Sprague expressed support for the party’s nominee and said he may campaign for Trump this fall.
“I’m ready to work for Donald Trump,” Sprague said.
Sprague also said Ohioans need to send Rob Portman back to the U.S. Senate. Portman is in a battle for his Senate seat with former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
“I’m going to be solidly behind this ticket all the way down,” Sprague said.
The last time a convention was held this close to Findlay was in Detroit in 1980, when Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan.
Then-state Sen. Paul Gillmor attended the convention, according to news reports from The Courier.
Gillmor said at the time that it marked his third convention of the previous four. Gillmor did not serve as a delegate at the Detroit convention.
Findlay is being represented at this year’s convention by Pendleton, and by Cheryl Buckland, an honorary delegate and Republican State Central Committee member.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, a Bowling Green Republican who represents Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, including Hancock County, is at the convention, said his press secretary Drew Griffin.
There are also some Findlay and Fostoria citizens in Cleveland for the convention, Buckland said.