On the Map

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The Secret Service is already in town getting ready for the fundraiser that will be held at the Bay Point Marriott Monday. This isn't the first time Bay County has hosted a presidential gathering.

Bobby Roberts, the chairman of the Bay County Republican Party, says President George W. Bush also knows this is important.

"It's exciting because if you remember when the president was elected, the first official visit as president was actually here in Bay County."

In fact, Earl Durden, the owner of the Bay Line Railroad, helped organize the fundraiser. He says this area is no stranger to the national Republican Party and the power of politics.

"It means we're on the map, that we count, that we are part of the system and part of what they're looking at in Washington."

Roberts agrees about the number of Republican supporters in Bay County.

"People forget this is a very influential part of the state and actually part of the country. If we can maintain that, if we can actually increase that status that gives us a better shot down the road."

But as Durden points out, hosting the fundraiser, which comes at a minimum contribution of $500 per person, requires increased security.

"One of the reasons for the Marriott, it will be easier to secure than a lot of other places would be."

Cheney is expected to arrive at the Bay County Airport before heading to the Mariott around 6 p.m. Monday evening, and just because security plans are not released, Roberts says it doesn't mean they aren't ready and watching.

"Every single thing is mapped out, every single thing is planned. It's planned with virtually no mistakes."

But make no mistake about this fundraiser and who's in attendance to show their support for a campaign that's going head to head against its Democratic opponent.