As delegates gathered, Tropical Storm Isaac brewed right outside-- as a steady cloud cover dumped intermittent rain and brought gusty winds throughout the morning.
Delegates sat at round banquet tables decked out in convention gear--including Stetson hats; red, white and blue shits and flashy pins--and cheered on home-state heroes as they fired up the crowd.
The morning kicked off with a speech by US Senator John Cornyn, who is in charge of overtaking a Republican majority in the US Senate as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Cornyn focused much of his remarks on the economy and made frequent quips about the need to replace Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as Majority Leader.
Ted Cruz, who captured the party's nomination to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, also addressed the crowd. Cruz's speech was heavy with red meet, drawing lots of applause and sparking a standing ovation when he finished.
Delegates were to have spent most of the afternoon and evening formally opening the convention Monday but those plans have been pushed back Tuesday because of the storm.
Instead, many said they plan to spend the extra day enjoying the sights around Tampa and taking in time with thousands of fellow conservatives.