Life's a beach for some RNC delegates, but staying so far away has perks and pitfalls

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - Life's a beach for the 172 members of the California Delegation to the Republican National Convention staying at the Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach.

"I think the wind helps the humidity and heat of Florida," said Delegate Van Le.  "So I enjoy it."

With the largest delegate block, this convention cadre is one to be reckoned with along these somewhat sunny shores, now that the threat from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac has gone to the other side of the Gulf.

"Yeah, it's going really well, as expected," said Evelyn Li, who's running for a Congressional Seat in the 17th District back home in the Golden State.  "We were afraid of the Hurricane, but it wasn't a problem."

No, weather wasn't an issue, although with all the downtown Tampa events and goings-on on the other side of Tampa Bay, transportation was.

"We had a very long bus ride last night," said Linda Ackerman, who -- along with her husband Dick -- has attended a number of Republican Conventions, and thus has a decent data set to compare this with.  "There are so many people and just so many hotels that can be close to the Forum, so some of us had to stay further out."

That delegates have had to travel to all those the across-the-Bay activities has left lots of room around the pools. And even though they're not the traditional resort guests -- spending all their time on property -- those who are hosting them here along the Pinellas beaches say they're happy to have them here.

"Yeah," said Tradewinds Resort President Keith Overton.  "They have this property pretty much consumed.  They kind of own it for the week."

And ownership has its plusses and minuses.  Luncheons -- and other fancy functions -- have left little time for the visitors to get out and experience our award-winning stretches of sand and the local vibe. But few we spoke with seemed to mind.

"It's enjoyable to be here in Florida," said Lynn Haueter.  "It's beautiful.  But it's historical to be a part of the national convention."

Historical for us all.

Print this article Back to Top