Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Democrats have top-notch lodging, big numbers in Charlotte

Will Saunders, of Longwood, near Orlando, is greeted by Larry Gaddy of Charlotte, N.C., Monday night in downtown Charlotte. A state delegate for two years, this is Saunders first time being a national convention delegate. “Had to get out my Florida orange,” he said. Saunders said he was in the Air Force then he worked in the postal service for 25 years, retiring in 2007.

KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times

Will Saunders, of Longwood, near Orlando, is greeted by Larry Gaddy of Charlotte, N.C., Monday night in downtown Charlotte. A state delegate for two years, this is Saunders first time being a national convention delegate. “Had to get out my Florida orange,” he said. Saunders said he was in the Air Force then he worked in the postal service for 25 years, retiring in 2007.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Florida Republicans may not want to read this story.

As the Democratic National Convention begins this week, Florida Democrats are staying in one of Charlotte's best hotels, the Marriott City Center, a mere five-minute walk from where the festivities will take place.

"This is going to be the most wonderful experience for me," said Elena McCullough, a 51-year-old from Wesley Chapel. "I am so excited to be surrounded by all these enthusiastic people from all across the United States."

Aside from top-notch lodging, the size of the Florida delegation swelled this year to 363 — which includes 300 voting delegates, the highest number ever.

"It underscores just how Florida is going to be one of the most important states in this year's elections," said Brannon Jordan, communications director for the Florida Democratic Party. "And the party wants Florida delegates to feel appreciated. It's a good motivator for them to work hard after the convention, to go back home and get energized about this election."

By contrast, Florida Republicans were exiled last week as punishment for holding their 2012 primary earlier than the GOP allowed. The delegation was cut in half — to 50 voting delegates — and they were banished to the Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort, about 30 miles from the convention in downtown Tampa.

The punishment felt worse, however, when several bus drivers got lost or were late. The delays caused delegates to miss parts of the convention. On one trip back, a bus driver mistakenly took some delegates to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. They didn't get back until well after 3 a.m.

During the last two days, organizers provided more buses for the delegates and no other problems were reported.

But Democrats took note. They issued a news release of their accommodations after reports of the GOP's bus delays were published. And as delegates know, no price is too high for proximity to power.

"I'm not sure I'm happy about paying $482 a night to stay here," said Evelyn Fox, a Gainesville resident. "But there's something to be said for convenience. It's worth it."

Florida Democrats have top-notch lodging, big numbers in Charlotte 09/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 6:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.