Wednesday August 29, 2012 | 02:03 PM

Secretary of State Charlie Summers is in Tampa on Wednesday not as a delegate to the Republican National Convention but instead as a U.S. Senate candidate looking for campaign cash.

Tampa is where it's at right now if you're a Republican, with tens of thousands of party faithful, political leaders, corporate big-wigs, lobbyists and political organizations crowded into downtown and its environs. The convention itself only consumes a few hours a day so there are dozens of other activities - from speeches to workshops and plain old parties - to fill the rest of the time.

Lance Dutson, spokesman for Summers' campaign, said he will be attending several events that are not fundraisers for him in particular but are aimed at raising money for the campaign. Summers is hoping to narrow the gap with former Gov. Angus King, the perceived front-runner in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

For instance, Summers is slated to speak at an event sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization.

Summers was actually named as a delegate to the GOP convention by the Republican National Committee last week after the RNC removed 10 Ron Paul delegates from Maine and replaced them with Mitt Romney supporters. But Summers, who had only planned to be in Tampa on Wednesday, passed up the delegate seat.

Dutson said he did not believe Summers planned to attend Wednesday's convention ceremonies that will culminate with a speech by Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

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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.
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Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
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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.
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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
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
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.
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