SARASOTA -- It was an event featuring Florida's first lady Ann Scott, but for political junkies, those leading up to the keynoter produced the more flashy political news.
Kathleen King, chairman of the Republican Party of Manatee and secretary of the Republican Party of Florida, told the crowd of 200 at a ladies' tea about Manatee County issues.
"Quite simply, our goal in 2014 is to re-elect Rick Scott, the governor of Florida," she said at the Sarasota Yacht Club.
She listed a number of local goals for the upcoming election: Better communication and messaging; more community and coalition outreach; raising adequate resources for a "fierce" campaign; maintaining or increasing the margin of victory, and boosting the number of early and absentee voters.
"We have got to tell our story better," she said. "Rick Scott is a great governor and a good man -- you know that Mrs. Scott, you know how warm and loving he is as a person and as husband and as a father and a grandfather -- we have got to get
that story out."
"Now, of course, metrics matter," she said. "We're going to continue to advocate his record of economic development, job creation, business creation, housing starts and all of that, but we also have to convey the man that he is, and what motivates him and drives him, and why he's good for Florida and he's good for America."
The first lady told her own story: She discussed how she had met Rick Scott in a library, married him, and how the young pair slept in sleeping bags on the floor at one point during a particularly lean year.
"He got his eye for pinching pennies very early," she joked.
A cadre of Republican Manatee County commissioners sat at one table -- Commissioners Carol Whitmore, Robin DiSabatino and Betsy Benac.
The event was free, but the guest list was by invitation only, they said.
"It's very lovely, I'm having a real nice time," said DiSabatino.
"It's good to see so many people listening to what the guest speakers have to say," she said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.