Obama campaigns in St. Petersburg on Saturday; Romney at Sarasota fundraiser on Sept. 20

mvalverde@bradenton.comSeptember 5, 2012 

SARASOTA -- President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are scheduled to make campaign stops in the Tampa Bay area this month.

Obama will appear at St. Petersburg College's Seminole campus on Saturday morning, and Romney will attend a fundraiser Sept. 20 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota.

The approximately 90-minute Romney event will be hosted in part by Carlos Beruff, Bill Isaac, Pat Neal, and Ronna Romney, the candidate's former sister-in-law, said Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota.

"We have to make sure we have the resources we need to compete," Gruters said, adding that President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is spending up to $3 million a day in Florida.

Romney's event in Sarasota requires a minimum $2,500 donation.

"It's not easy, nobody likes raising money, but at the end of the day we have to raise money to be competitive," Gruters said.

Romney's campaign is putting the event together, and the local Republican Party is helping spread the word about the event, he said.

"I think Sarasota is extremely fortunate to be able to bring our next president here for any type of event," Gruters said. "It's not every day you have a nominee come to your hometown."

The fundraiser is an example of Sarasota's prominence, said Gruters.

The local party is optimistic of having a public event around the date of the fundraiser but nothing has been confirmed yet, according to Gruters.

Romney was officially announced as the Republican Party's presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week. Paul Ryan, a representative from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the vice presidential nominee.

The Sept. 20 event will start at 1:30 p.m. Gruters said anyone interested in attending can contact him at joegruters@gmail.com or at 941-914-2004.

Obama on Saturday will appear at St. Petersburg College's Seminole Campus, at Natural Habitat Park Field.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Tickets are available starting Wednesday on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations:

* 951 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

* 6537 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park.

* 225 West Bay Drive, Largo.

* 1820 Drew St., Clearwater.

* St Petersburg College Seminole Campus, University Partnership Center 9200 113th St. N., Seminole.

-- Bay News 9 contributed to this story.

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