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Arizona delegates pay thousands to attend the Republican National Convention

Delegates stand and turn toward the camera for the official photo during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

CLEVELAND — Attending a party’s national convention as a delegate or an alternate is quite a prestigious honor, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Tim Sifert, communications director for the Arizona Republican Party, said the delegates and alternates were required to make a $1,000 down payment toward their trip immediately after their election. That money went to pay for events, entertainment, receptions and other events and activities.

In addition to the $1,000 down payment, delegates and alternates are also responsible for booking their own flights and hotels. The party could do so, but custom holds that delegates pay their own way. A Federal Election Commission ruling bars corporations from paying these costs.

Sifert said each delegate paid less than $2,500 to attend.

According to a list of delegates posted by the Arizona Republican Party, the estimated cost of sending each delegate and alternate to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was about $4,000 in the spring. The party’s estimation came as both flights and hotels were priced high because of the possibility of a contested convention. Prices have since dropped.

Factoring in the 58 Arizona delegates, the required equal number of alternates per party rules and the party’s estimated cost per delegate, the total spent by the delegation quickly climbs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.

On Monday, delegate and Gov. Doug Ducey spoke before the Arizona delegation and encouraged them to develop a sense of unity during the convention.

“Let’s clearly state our purpose this morning: It is to put a Republican back in the White House and a Republican vice president back in Washington, D.C. and those Republicans are Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” he said.

Arizona’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention next week in Philadelphia will also pay about $4,000 each to attend.

KTAR’s Jim Sharpe and Carter Nacke are in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention all week. Stay with us for ongoing coverage, both on-air and online.

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