From the convention: Anticipation high in Tampa | AspenTimes.com

From the convention: Anticipation high in Tampa

Frieda Wallison
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

We’re here! My husband Peter and I arrived in Tampa for the Republican National Convention Sunday on schedule, despite tropical storm Isaac lurking somewhere south of us. We barely had time to settle in before joining the rest of the Colorado delegation and heading off to Tropicana Field for the opening reception for delegates and alternates.

Security was very tight, as it will be for the rest of the convention. Except for the buses that brought us to the reception, no other vehicles were allowed into a large area surrounding Tropicana Field and we needed special credentials to attend the reception.

We learned just how tight security was when we walked many city blocks from the reception to find a taxi to join friends for dinner. Many of the police along the way were not Tampa-area residents. It seemed as though an army of security personnel had been imported from other parts of Florida and from other states for the convention. Although they tried to be helpful, getting reliable directions from these non-locals was difficult.

The reception took place on the home field of the Rays, Tampa’s major league baseball franchise. Mingling with fellow delegates where the Rays play was an overwhelming experience because of the vastness of the stadium. There were varying estimates of how many people attended this event, ranging anywhere from 5,000 to 40,000 people, but it could have been any number because the stadium easily held the crowd.

This morning we got down to business with our first delegation breakfast. The Colorado press were out in full force to cover the event and cameras, microphones and reporters were everywhere. Matt Romney, son number two, paid a surprise visit and was eloquent in talking about his father’s candidacy. The fact that he showed up at the event was much appreciated by everyone in the delegation, which gave him a rousing ovation.

We got down to real business with an initial roll call vote on which candidate the delegation supports. Of the 36 delegates, 28 indicated that they support the Romney-Ryan ticket, while the remaining eight delegates abstained. Rick Santorum had recently released the delegates previously pledged to support him and they were now free to vote for another candidate. Most of these delegates pledged to support the Romney-Ryan ticket. Supporters of Ron Paul constituted the majority of the delegates who abstained on the vote.

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We have a packed agenda tomorrow because of the postponement of the real start of the convention by one day, thanks to tropical storm Isaac. There will be morning events, a formal delegation photo and then the convention will meet all afternoon. In the evening during prime time, Ann Romney, Rick Santorum, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will headline the session.

Looking forward to it!

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