CLEVELAND, OHIO (MEDIA GENERAL)—The Republican National Convention’s third day brought a new wave of excitement, topping the lackluster energy seen during the first half of the party’s gathering.
Delegates showed up to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland full of energy and dressed in their flashiest patriotic get-ups.
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham and country music star Chris Janson had delegates’ hurrahs filling the rafters.
It infused Donald Trump’s divided convention with a much needed shift of feel and fervor ahead of the nominee’s Thursday-evening acceptance speech.
The week began with more a whimper than bang, leaving speakers like Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, shouting speeches to a half-empty arena.
On Tuesday evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WIsc., faced a far more tepid reception than four years ago as Mitt Romney’s running mate. As he walked onstage, Ryan drew boos and his address barely got delegates out of their seats at its crescendo.
Wednesday evening bore a distinct shift in sentiments.
Sparkly hats were scattered all over the convention floor, cheese heads sat in the Wisconsin section, and “Hillary Lies Matters” shirts began showing up.
The anti-Hillary Clinton apparel built on the theme set by Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., on Tuesday evening, indicting the Democratic nominee for a host of supposed transgressions.
Sam Barke, 18, of California, donned a full flag-themed suit complemented by a “Hillary 2016 Prison” t-shirt and elephant-checkered canvas shoes.
Barke said that as Trump’s speech nears, the energy in the room is building.
As anticipation hits its peak, Trump will likely encounter a far more rambunctious crowd than expected at the beginning of the week.
Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales