Current Weather
The Spy FM

As Convention Day Winds Down, Tampa Hosts Republican (And Other) Parties

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 29, 2012

In Tampa, “Republican Party” can take on a whole new meaning as it gets later in the convention day. That’s when delegates, lobbyists, business executives and others begin to mingle, filling up the city’s nightspots.

NPR producer Brakkton Booker and I began Tuesday night with a trip to 7th Street in Ybor City, the Tampa neighborhood made famous for its cigar factories of the past. Now it’s a mix of restaurants, bars and trendy shops similar to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.

There was a mostly young crowd lined up in front of the Amphitheater nightclub. Party attendees Taylor Schiller and Katie Glogowski had on their dancing attire — bikinis and fishnet stockings. It was a mixed political demographic here, including some Republicans — and some who don’t identify with the GOP.

Rock the Vote, the nonpartisan group that works to engage young people in the political process, organized this party. Tampa is the first leg on its planned road trip that will also stop in Charlotte, N.C., next week in time for the Democratic National Convention.

The featured guest Tuesday night was not a politician but instead celebrity DJ Steve Aoki. In a dark room full of thumping music, flashing disco lights and a couple of bars, it was pandemonium as Aoki stepped up to the turntables.

“What’s up, Tampa!” Aoki yelled, then urged everyone to vote.

Rock the Vote organizers have a goal of registering 1.5 million voters in time for the November election. It’s not clear how enthusiastic young voters will be for either presidential nominee. A Gallup poll found that 58 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 say they will vote in the general election compared with the national average of 78 percent.

Four years ago, President Obama carried the youth vote. This year, Republicans are hoping Mitt Romney’s running mate, 42-year-old Paul Ryan, will garner some attention and votes from younger Americans.

The last stop on our night out was the Honey Pot for “Homocon,” a party organized by GOProud, a group that reaches out to gay and straight conservatives.

Will Clark, who just retired from the Navy after 30 years, was taking it all in — silver confetti, the dancers on four stages and the crowd on the floor.

“This party, right here, is proof positive that they are opening their eyes to the fact that there’s a lot of gay Republicans,” saids Clark. “This is 2012. I mean, it’s time to kind of get with this.”

Clark said he’s excited about the presidential race and expects a close election.

Tuesday night, though, it was all about dancing. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 9PM Juke Joint Revival

Juke Joint Revival

Juke Joint Revival rivals any Rockabilly/Roots show on the air today, and the host of that program, Jenni Zee, lives and breathes the Rockabilly lifestyle. Her show has drawn the attention of Rockabilly fans the world over.

Listen Live Now!

9PM to 10PM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

View the program guide!

10PM to 11PM The Blank Generation

The Blank Generation

Our punk show, The Blank Generation, is hosted by Katie Jones and Chad Hunnicutt. Katie has been attending punks shows for more than half her life. Chad is a member of local band, The Muck Savages.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center