Missy Shelton Belote for NPR
Delegate: Darrell Proctor, 60
Hometown: Willard, Mo.
Occupation: Landlord/real estate investor
Why We're Watching: Proctor is politically active in southwest Missouri, where the turnout of conservative voters will influence which presidential candidate wins this swing state.
Darrell Proctor has campaigned for Republican candidates since he was old enough to put a brochure in another person's hand.
Now 60, the resident of Willard, Mo., in the southwest part of state, is semi-retired. (In 2001, he sold the brokerage firm he started more than three decades earlier.) But he's still active in Republican politics.
That's evident when you walk into his office. His walls display photographs of him and his wife with well-known Republicans, including former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and President George W. Bush.
The gathering in St. Paul will be Proctor's second Republican National Convention. He was in New York City as a delegate in 2004.
For Proctor, GOP activism is a family affair. His grandfather was active in Republican politics. His wife, Danette, is the chair of the Greene County Republican Party. And with 25 years as a Republican Central Committeeman and several years as a state committeeman for the GOP, Proctor has established his own credentials as a committed campaigner. He says this year, his efforts will be especially important.
"Southwest Missouri is a very critical part of the total vote in Missouri and could make the difference in whether John McCain carries the state or not," he says. " I think Greene County and southwest Missouri are going to be the real battleground for Missouri."
The main challenge Proctor sees is getting enough of southwest Missouri's conservative voters to turnout to off-set the large turnout of Democrats in Kansas City and St Louis.
Missy Shelton Belote reports from member station KSMU in Springfield, Mo.