TAMPA, Fla. -- The Republican National Convention has attracted some of the major figures of the Tar Heel Republican Party.
Among those attending the GOP caucus breakfast Monday morning were Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Raleigh businsessman and GOP donor Art Pope. Congresswoman Renee Ellers is also in Tampa attending the convention.
Berger, who is a delegate, said one of his major goals is to better connect with key aides to Mitt Romney, so that he will have better contacts in the next administration. (He hopes.)
Sen. Richard Burr is expected to be in Tampa shortly, while GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is skipping the event to campaign back home.
It is traditional for special interest groups to pick up the tab for such events, and State Farm, the insurance company, paid for the state GOP delegation breakfast buffet which was held in flag-draped ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in St. Petersburg. The hotel is also the headquarters for the Minnesota delegation, which is why Rep. Michelle Bachmann, a former presidential candidate, was spotted in the hallway Monday morning.
With the convention's start delayed until Tuesday, the North Carolina delegation has a lot of free time on its hands to explore St. Pete. The delegation will attend a reception at 5 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, which had initially been scheduled at 11 p.m. after the session.