For Hilton Head man, Republican convention can't be beat

rheaton@islandpacket.comAugust 30, 2012 

James Wedgeworth is having the time of his life in Tampa, Fla.

The Hilton Head Island resident and former president of the Beaufort County Republican Party arrived Monday at the Republican National Convention.

It's been his dream to attend, and the experience hasn't disappointed, he said.

"I've never had so much fun in my life," he said. "I wish I could have been going every year."

He's rubbed elbows with some of the top names in the Republican Party, including Karl Rove, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

And speakers, such as Gov. Mitt Romney's sons Ben and Craig, have stopped in at breakfast meetings with the S.C. delegates and attendees. Wedgeworth isn't a delegate, but is attending as a guest. His sister, Marsha Blackburn, is a U.S. congresswoman from Tennessee and has helped Wedgeworth meet many convention attendees, he said.

The best part, Wedgeworth said, has been the speeches. It's hard for him to pick a favorite. "It's one after another after another, and it seems like every one is better than the one before."

Gov. Nikki Haley's speech Tuesday "rocked the house," he said.

But so far, the standout has been Ann Romney, he said.

"She gave us inside information about her life with Mitt Romney," he said. "I thought she did a good job of explaining his life, because we don't know that much about him."

And the atmosphere? It's "electric," he said. The crowd goes wild for every speaker. Everyone is excited about the election. Parties last into early morning, then they wake for breakfast at 9 a.m.

"I wish more people could attend," Wedgeworth said. "It's a bucket-list opportunity."

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

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