ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. -- California delegates attending the Republican National Convention this week will take home a goodie bag filled with GOP gear, gift cards and some Golden State-grown staples such as rice and walnuts.
The black-and-red tote bags are stuffed with freebies such as a 2012 "President" Barbie, a copy of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents" and a $120 credit for a line of luxury swimsuits.
All told, the California bag's contents, provided by a long list of delegation sponsors that includes Folsom Lake Ford and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, are worth up to $700.
Torey Van Oot
GOP SHINING LIGHTS In a week in which Mitt Romney is expected to highlight his personal side including, perhaps, his Mormon faith Harold Stuart, an organist and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, accompanied California members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a service Sunday at their beachfront hotel.
Of the state's more than 700 delegates, alternates and guests selected by the campaign to attend the Republican National Convention, more than 100 are Mormon, organizers said.
About 60 of them filled a small ballroom at the TradeWinds Island Grand. Mark Clayson of Gardena told congregants it is a week to "serve well and strengthen this nation, and be able to let our light shine."
He said he is hopeful for a convention that presents Romney in a more personal light than the campaign has managed in recent months.
"To get a sense of who he is," Clayson said. "I think we need to see a little bit of that."
SHOUTING DOWN PAUL California's delegation is planning to counteract any uprising by Ron Paul supporters on the convention floor, with officials preparing "delegate whips" to lead the effort.
The state delegation, marginalized in most matters because of California's heavily Democratic electorate, could be significant in drowning out any chants supporting Paul: The 172-member delegation is the nation's largest, and unlike some split delegations is fully committed to Romney.
In a private meeting at the delegation's beachfront hotel, Jeff Randle, the senior Romney adviser who is in charge of the California delegation, told 16 delegate whips to be prepared for a potential Paul uprising, including leading pro-Romney chants.