September brings cooler temperatures and hotter campaigning as the unofficial kick-off for the fall campaign begins after Labor Day. Next week Republicans take the stage in Tampa to formally nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for the Republican ticket for President and Vice President of the United States. The GOP Convention kicks off Aug. 27 and runs through Aug. 30 with the theme, "A Better Future."

While much more goes into choosing a host city than the electoral votes of the state, there is no denying the importance of Florida to Republicans. The last time any candidate won Florida and didn't win the White House was 1992 when President George H.W. Bush carried the state, but lost the race to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton who reclaimed Southern Reagan Democrats and foiled a second term by Bush, aided by Texas millionaire Ross Perot.

In Tampa, the Mississippi delegation will stay in prime convention real estate at the Hyatt Regency alongside the Wisconsin delegation. Wisconsin is the home state of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus whose election to chairman was aided by Mississippi Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour. The Wisconsin delegation brings an additional air of excitement following the selection of native son Ryan as Romney's running mate.

Two Mississippi elected officials serve on the Republican National Convention Committee on Resolutions which drafts the national GOP platform: Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Treasurer Lynn Fitch. Fitch is one of three chairs on the subcommittee for "Economy, Jobs, Debt."

Other elected officials both statewide and federal will be hosting or honored at receptions during the convention. One of note for political observers sails on Monday night when Sen. Thad Cochran will hold a $250 per couple fundraising reception aboard the yacht Starship II. The invitation notes contributions are for, "Citizens for Cochran 2014 Primary."

The 40 Mississippi delegates and 37 alternate delegates will be joined by family, other elected officials and guests to total about 200 attendees.

Speakers at the convention include well known Republicans as well as rising stars: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (son of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas), South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Texas Senate nominee Ted Cruz. Four VP "short list" names edged out by Ryan will speak: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who will introduce Romney on Thursday night.

The following week, Democrats begin their three-day convention on Sept. 4 in Charlotte For Democrats, North Carolina marked a prized victory for Obama in 2008. The traditional "red state" had not been won by a Democrat since Jimmy Carter swept the South in 1976 and more than any other state, the margin of victory for Obama was quantifiably the result of young voters supporting "hope and change."

The state has become more problematic since its selection to host the convention. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue facing plunging poll numbers opted to not seek reelection. The National Democratic Party Platform will call for support of same sex marriage, but the voters of North Carolina earlier this year overwhelmingly endorsed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The State Democratic Chairman resigned (then un-resigned) following sexual harassment allegations by a party staffer. Unions complained about choosing a convention site in a "right-to-work" state and reports of union displeasure and struggling finances led to cancelation of the first night of the convention scheduled for Labor Day. As for the youth vote, Zogby released a poll recently putting young voters in support of Romney at 41 percent and Obama at 49 percent, down from his 2008 victory with 66 percent of young voters.

A number of Democrats in tight elections will skip convention. Some Republicans in similar positions are skipping their convention, too. Neither is too unusual from recent conventions. What is unusual is the person who seconded the nomination of Obama at the 2008 Democratic Convention - one of Obama's national campaign co-chairs - will be skipping the DNC and speaking at the RNC. Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, now a Republican, has been campaigning for Romney and will give a keynote speech in Tampa, not Charlotte.

But Democrats will have other liberal stars to cheer: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and the last Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to be elected to more than one term as President, Bill Clinton.

Conventions provide both parties with an opportunity to celebrate their candidates and pitch their messages before September campaigning and October's one vice presidential and three presidential debates.



Brian Perry is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms or @CapstonePerry on Twitter.