There was one message delivered to Florida’s delegates Thursday morning that they were especially warned to heed: Try not to leave your seats during the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, who is serving as whip captain for the Florida delegation, warned delegates that the fire marshal would shut down the floor at a certain point once it became too busy.
The capacity of the arena’s floor — where some delegates sit during the event, with others seated in the arena’s stands — became an issue as the convention progressed. People standing in the aisles to watch the speakers and performers stood shoulder-to-shoulder, occasionally blocking walkways and prompting the fire marshal Wednesday night to close an area of the floor to people trying to pass through.
A combination of fewer seats and more delegates made for more cramped quarters at the host site of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia than at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland the week before.
Where the Wells Fargo Center, the DNC’s host, has about 19,600 seats, the Quicken Loans Arena had about 21,000 seats. And where the Republicans had about 2,500 delegates, the Democrats had close to 4,800. That doesn’t include guests, media, volunteers and security personnel.
The size of the convention stage may have played a factor as well, as several people observed that the stage for the DNC seems to be built out more than the RNC’s stage.
Gannon cautioned Florida delegates that if they left to go to the bathroom, they may not be able to get back to their seats, especially later in the night as more press and guests made their way to the floor to see presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak.
“Don’t drink a lot of water,” Gannon said. “That’s my advice.”