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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

At Tampa welcome reception for RNC, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster is a no-show



GOP heavyweights from around the country gathered Wednesday night at a Tampa Yacht & Country Club reception as part of the Republican National Committee’s three-day summer meeting in Tampa.

To welcome them, the roster of state and local officials included Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, former Gov. Bob Martinez and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, all Republicans, plus Bob Buckhorn, the Democratic mayor of Tampa and former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, also a Democrat.

A notable no-show: St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, a Republican. He was invited, but had a prior engagement to speak at Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Buckhorn, who interrupted a family vacation to fly home from North Carolina and attend the reception, noted that Bill Harris, the chief executive officer of the convention, has told him that the GOP tends to hold its best conventions in cities with Democratic mayors. The GOP’s 2000 convention in Philadelphia, courtesy of then-Mayor Ed Rendell, was a noteworthy success, he said.

Buckhorn told the group his goal is to help the GOP put on a convention next year that’s so smooth and memorable that Harris will forget about Rendell.

-- Rick Danielson, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 2:38pm]


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