The inside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The inside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday, Aug. 26. (Dan Evans / Times Community News / August 28, 2012)

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — With almost all official convention business canceled for the day, California delegates used their free 24 hours to relax, sleep in, see the sites and take in some of the unofficial programming offered by Republican supporters.

Delores Chavez Harmes, an alternate delegate from San Diego, mixed work and play – she attended a breakfast speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a screening of the conservative film “2016: Obama’s America.” But she also stopped for a neon-green crème de menthe cocktail in  the lobby of the Tradewinds resort and planned to head to the historic pink Don CeSar Hotel down the road.

“We’re going to have some drinks and smoke some cigars,” said the 53-year-old accountant, who worked on Latino outreach for failed 2010 gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.

She said she appreciated weather that is all but unknown in California and had no qualms about the shortened schedule. “The hurricane we had was awesome. It’s been no big deal,” Chavez Harmes said. “We can get everything done in three days.”

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-- Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times