ST. PETERSBURG — Security fences going up around Tropicana Field have derailed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's Liberty Rock After-Party on Sunday night.
The GOP presidential candidate had been expected to draw more than 1,500 supporters to Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill after the Republican National Convention's welcome party at the stadium.
The party has been moved to Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill in Tampa.
The fences and numerous road closures in St. Petersburg would have kept buses from shuttling Paul supporters one block from the Trop to the bar, Ferg's owner Mark Ferguson said. He is baffled that supporters couldn't walk.
"Even if Ron Paul comes in a limo, it's an issue," he said. "It was more the Secret Service and the RNC with all the road closures. It's out of my control. I had no input."
Paul's campaign did not return a call for comment.
Paul was scheduled to be joined by blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Blues Traveler's John Popper.
The welcome party at the Trop is expected to attract 20,000 delegates, dignitaries and journalists. Fencing is going up around the stadium and the St. Petersburg police station. Many roads, including Interstate 175, will be closed during the party.
From noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Paul will hold a free public rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. But if you haven't gotten tickets already, you're out of luck. No tickets remain.
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.