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Political columnist Matt Lewis kicks off 2023 Mock Convention

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Posted on Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Matt Lewis, senior columnist for The Daily Beast, will deliver the keynote speech at Westminster College’s 22nd Mock Convention at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Will W. Orr Auditorium on Westminster’s campus.

Lewis, an American conservative political writer, podcaster and commentator, joins a long list of renowned keynote speakers selected to kick off the quadrennial event, one of the oldest surviving collegiate conventions in the country. Past guests have included Republican strategist Karl Rove, former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Republican politician and diplomat Alan Keyes, political columnist Robert Novak, and one man who went on to win the presidency, Joseph Biden.

Lewis is the author of “Filthy Rich Politicians,” released in July, in which he provides commentary and insight into how Americans should view their elected officials. He also penned “Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots).” Lewis also hosts a podcast, “Matt Lewis and the News,” and has also written for The Daily Caller, The Week, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, POLITICO and Roll Call. He has appeared as a political commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, "PBS NewsHour," ABC’s "Nightline," CBS News’ "Face the Nation" and HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher."

Westminster College political science students have staged the Mock Convention every presidential election year since 1936, except for 1944. The event simulates the nomination process for the major political party that is out of office. This year will be the Republican Party Convention.

“This is a signature event of the Westminster College experience and an educational and fun opportunity for the campus community to experience the political process in action,” said Dr. James Rhoads, professor of political science and eight-time faculty adviser for the mock convention. “As an event held once every four years, the Mock Convention binds Westminster graduates together. When I visit with alumni, their participation in the convention is usually the first thing they mention to me.”

On Thursday, Nov. 16, Mock Convention activities move to the Memorial Field House where the intramural gymnasium will be transformed into a convention hall. Convention entertainment will begin at 6 p.m., and the nomination of the presidential and vice presidential candidates will follow at 7 p.m.

The candidates being sponsored in this year’s convention are:

•    Former President Donald Trump, represented by junior molecular biology major and criminal justice studies major Lily Hefner of Washington, Pa.
•    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, represented by junior minor Jack Mickle of Presto, Pa., a political science and broadcasting and sports communication double major
•    Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, represented by senior political science major and secondary education minor Bradley Green of Landisville, Pa.

Nineteen students—led by Christina Loewe, a junior international studies and political science double major from Austin, Texas—are planning this year’s Mock Convention.

Former Westminster College professor Thomas Mansell introduced the convention to Westminster in the mid-1930s as a vehicle to increase student knowledge and interest in American politics. Four years ago more than 800 students registered to participate in the Mock Convention, as well as faculty, administrators and staff.

For more information about Westminster's Mock Convention, contact Rhoads at or 724-946-7255.

To learn more about Westminster's political science program, please visit

Photos from top: 2023 Mock Convention Keynote Speaker Matt Lewis; students participating in the 2019 Mock Convention; Professor of Political Science Dr. James Rhoads addresses the convention hall in 2019