Eight Manatee County delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte

mvalverde@bradenton.comSeptember 4, 2012 

MANATEE -- Ten delegates from Florida's 13th Congressional District are attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, including seven from Manatee County. Another Manatee County delegate from the 11th congressional district is also attending.

"It's the largest delegation we've ever sent to a presidential convention," said David Fernandez, interim chair of the Manatee County Democratic Party. "The second-most was one delegate."

The 13th Congressional District is comprised of all or parts of five counties: Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Hardee, and Charlotte.

The Democratic National Convention started Tuesday and will go on until Thursday. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to be officially nominated again for office.

"It's incredible, there's so many of our leaders here, so many motivated people about the electoral process," said Fernandez in a phone interview Tuesday from Charlotte. "It's incredible for someone whose parents grew up in a country that doesn't have this ... to be able to witness and be part of this is a great American experience."

Fernandez's parents are from Cuba.

Local delegates will be attending different caucuses to discuss and learn how other states are motivating people to vote, said Fernandez.

Tom Finnerty, a Bradenton resident and delegate at the Charlotte convention, said he heard a "riveting and inspiring" speech from Newark's Mayor Cory Booker on Tuesday.

"There's lots of excitement and enthusiasm," Finnerty said. "If we win Florida we'll win the elections. (Mitt) Romney cannot win the elections without Florida."

After the convention is over, the Manatee County delegates will hold a local meeting to talk about their experiences in Charlotte, Fernandez said.

The DNC is being held just a few days after the Republican National Convention where Romney was officially nominated as the presidential candidate. Paul Ryan, a representative from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The RNC was held in Tampa the last week of August.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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