TAMPA, Fla. – The list of speakers and attendees of the Republican National Convention reads like a who’s who in the GOP across the country.

For the Maine Republican Party, however, the 2012 convention is notable for who is not in Tampa – namely, pretty much all of the state’s big-name GOP politicians.

Gov. Paul LePage announced last week that he was skipping the convention due, in large part, to the dispute between Maine delegates who support presidential candidate Ron Paul and Republican National Committee members. LePage is an official delegate, so his spot was filled by an alternate.

Sen. Olympia Snowe’s absence in Tampa is not necessarily surprising. Snowe, who is retiring in January after more than 30 years in Congress, has been deeply critical of her own party’s ideological shift to the right – a shift she argues could cost the party dearly with women, Hispanics and independent voters this November.

Snowe’s abrupt decision earlier this year to halt her re-election campaign also caught Republican leaders off guard and opened up a Senate seat that had been considered a sure-bed for the GOP. Former Gov. Angus King, an independent who supports President Obama, is emerged as the clear front-runner in that race.

Sen. Susan Collins, meanwhile, cancelled her plans to attend the convention earlier this week due to Tropical Storm Isaac, according to spokesman Kevin Kelley. Collins, like Snowe, is a moderate Republican, which is increasingly viewed as a rarity in hyper-partisan Congress these days. And she did not have any official role in the 2012 convention.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers was among the 10 people named by RNC officials to replace 10 Paul supporters on Maine’s delegation amid the ongoing flap over the legality of Maine’s slate of elected delegates and alternates.

But Summers has turned down the delegate seat and, instead, spent part of Monday in Washington County as part of his campaign to replace Snowe in the Senate. Spokesman Lance Dutson said in an email that Summers is sticking with his earlier plan to campaign in Maine and swing through Tampa on Wednesday for a campaign-related purposes, however.

That leaves Attorney General Bill Schneider as the only statewide GOP official – apart from party leaders – who is in Tampa for the convention. And Schneider was only added to the list of delegates last week by the RNC as part of the committee’s decision to reconfigure Maine’s delegation.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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