TAMPA, Fla. – The Maine Republican Party’s disunity at the Republican National Convention appears to have taken a toll on a tradition among delegations at political conventions: the partying.

Delegations from most states — including Maine, in past years — eat together, travel together to and from the same hotel, and attend workshops and speeches together.

“That didn’t happen because of the split” between Maine’s supporters of Ron Paul and supporters of Mitt Romney, said Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a delegate from Maine.

Typically, when an evening’s stump speeches are over, many delegation members find a place to unwind together. But with Maine’s delegation effectively split into two increasingly distant and distrusting factions, partying as a party apparently became less appealing.

That’s not to say dozens of Mainers passed up Tampa’s booming nightspots to go watch the television pundits hash, re-hash and re-re-rehash what they just watched in person.

The younger lot who comprised much of Paul’s contingent from Maine favored two bars, a waterfront tavern called Whiskey Joe’s and an Irish pub called Four Green Fields, according to delegates and alternates.

They were often joined by libertarian-leaning “Paulites” from other states, especially Texas, whose delegates and alternates helped focus national attention on Maine’s fight over displaced Paul delegates.

A group of Romney delegates found a Greek restaurant off the beaten path where they could eat and talk until 1 or 2 a.m., said Hayes Gahagan, an Aroostook County resident who has attended more than a few GOP national conventions.

Gahagan was among the delegates and alternates who were added to Maine’s slate of official attendees less than a week before the convention, after national party officials stripped Paul supporters of their status, citing a faulty delegate-selection process.

Although Tropical Storm Isaac largely missed Tampa, all of the wind and rain thwarted some Mainers’ plans to do touristy things. Several of the Paul delegates, for example, had to scratch plans to catch some of Florida’s famed saltwater sport fish.

Maine’s delegation members didn’t let their internal strife stop the other major purpose of political conventions: networking. They just did it in different circles.

Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, got to see big-name politicians while walking around the massive Tampa Bay Times Forum, and met one-time presidential contender Herman Cain.

“Everyone in the conservative movement is in that building,” Mason said.

For Rep. Aaron Libby, who represents the Waterboro area in the Maine House, Sunday’s 5½-hour speechathon and pep rally for Paul backers was his highlight.

“The most enjoyable thing for me was the rally at the Sun Dome and seeing 10,000 (Paul) supporters,” Libby said.

Webster hit the VIP room and after-hours functions reserved for the Republican National Committee, of which he is a member as state chairman.

“You build a relationship with this large family of 168 people,” said Webster, who estimated he talked to one-third of the RNC’s members.

While modern national political conventions are intended as unity parties for the faithful, members of Maine’s GOP family are headed home in a mood that may sound familiar to many survivors of extended family vacations: barely on speaking terms.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

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On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC