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Storm shakes up RNC, but doesn't dampen California delegates' spirits

Published: Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 15A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 - 8:59 am

ST. PETE BEACH – The storm heading in the direction of the Florida coast is causing some logistical challenges for the roughly 750 California Republicans set to gather in Tampa as delegates, alternates and guests at the Republican National Convention.

"Our parties and what's happening at the convention (are) going to change probably daily as we try to adapt to whatever the hurricane or the storm is going to bring to us," Don Willet, the chief operating officer for the delegation, told delegates Saturday night.

At least one delegate found himself stranded at an airport en route to Tampa on Saturday. It was unclear how the storm will affect travel plans of the roughly 200 California attendees who had not yet arrived.

The hotel staff assured organizers that the oceanside TradeWinds Resort, where the delegates are staying, will be a safe space to remain during the storm.

Few members of the delegation seemed worried as they gathered on the sand for a beach blanket party on Saturday night. Attendees noshed on offerings like Spanish paella with mussels and sipped beer, wine and mojitos from a host bar as a live band played and fireworks popped over the ocean.

In fact, some said they were looking forward to a storm.

"I hope it rains like hell," said delegate Don Genhart. "We don't see any rain in Palm Desert."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Torey Van Oot



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