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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House Speaker Paul Ryan drops by Sembler's pad — with an FHP escort



U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday visited a St. Petersburg house, or condo tower rather, causing plenty of gawking downtown at the bevy of limousines and security provided by Florida Highway Patrol and the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Top GOP fundraiser Mel Sembler and his wife Betty live in the penthouse of Ovation tower at 180 Beach Dr. NE, where the vehicles were parked. The Wisconsin Republican was in St. Pete for a couple of fundraising events that will support Team Ryan, his new political organization, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Zack Roday, his press secretary, in an email to Bay Buzz. During his first few months as Speaker, Ryan has raked in millions of dollars, becoming the GOP's top fundraising draw, according to The Hill.

Ryan's visit had Beach Drive abuzz.

"I asked a policeman what was going on and he said 'It's Paul Ryan. He's at a meeting,'" said Kay Stroh, a tourist from Ohio who was nearby at the Wooden Rooster. She noted that both she and the new speaker both went to Miami of Ohio University.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 4:22pm]


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