My first adventure, after arriving in Tampa, is making it to my hotel located within the security perimeter. The entire convention area is enclosed by chain link fences patrolled by numerous police, secret service and military details. Coast guard boats motor up and down the harbor with an occasional helicopter circling overhead. Upon reaching the checkpoint where no cars are allowed, I unload my baggage into a golf cart that drops me off at my hotel.
This is my first ever convention, and although I anticipated tight security, I had no idea how massive a security force and perimeter there would be. I imagine it would be similar to a military base on foreign soil. Movement through the secure zone requires a slew of different credentials, the more places you are able to go, the more credentials you have. My dad, Scott Romney, has at least 8 different credentials. As a Michigan Delegate staying in the secure zone I have 4.
After settling in and catching up with family we head to the Michigan Delegation Meeting. Chairman Bobby Shostak reveals Michigan’s honored convention floor placement, right in front of the stage. Governor Snyder, AG Schuette, Speaker Bolger, Randy Richardville and many Republican leaders are here. RNC Chair Reince Preibus delivers a rousing address to our delegation. We know Michigan is in play and we are pumped! The Michigan Delegation then heads to AG Schuette’s party at Oystercatchers. The food, music and energy is amazing. There is even a brilliant sunset view despite the looming threat of Hurricane Isaac.
I end the night sitting at a sports restaurant with 10 family members watching a CNN special on my Uncle Mitt on a giant big screen TV. As images flash of people I love and know so well in front of us, it does feel surreal that I am here in Tampa to nominate my Uncle as a Delegate from Michigan. The moment takes my breath away. I have a feeling I will have many of those throughout the week.
Ronna Romney McDaniel