TAMPA – Republicans began assembling en masse in Florida today as they readied for their quadrennial presidential nominating convention.
Mitt Romney is not in Tampa yet, having started the day in Ohio before jetting back to Portsmouth, N.H., for a weekend of down time (and speechwriting!) at his vacation house in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Running mate Paul Ryan also started in Ohio with Romney before flying east to New Hampshire and making a surprise visit to the Puritan Backroom restaurant in Manchester.
He was due to head back to his native Wisconsin to ready for the coming week.
Massachusetts – at least its media community – was well represented on JetBlue Flight 444 this morning. Besides a Globe reporter and photographer John Tlumacki, a WBZ contingent made up of anchor Joe Mathieu, reporter Carl Stevens, and producer Jay Borselle was aboard.
So, too, were blogger Garrett Quinn, on assignment for Reason magazine, WBUR radio host Robin Young, and WBUR political reporter Fred Thys.
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz, decked in a zippered track top from his alma mater Boston College, was on the flight as he readied to serve as a delegate. And Sarah Pompei and Amanda Henneberg of the Romney staff flew down from the campaign’s North End headquarters to man their convention stations.
While Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the approaching Isaac, and the Obama administration’s Federal Emergency Management Agency issued storm warnings up the coast, it was still the calm before the storm in the Greater Tampa Bay area.
Upon landing, the plane was buffeted by some turbulence, but, overall, the weather was simply steamy and overcast.
Delegates are hoping it won’t worsen and spoil their welcome party on Sunday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The event could be in trouble if bridges to that area get closed.
Otherwise, the shuttle ride in from the airport to the hotel was routine. As advertised, though, there is an unusually high concentration of strip clubs in this city.
One of them, The Doll House, is certainly in the convention spirit. On Thursday, it promises the “Keynote Undress.’’
Cue the outrage.