Orlando hosted 14 Republican presidential candidates for the Sunshine Summit from Nov. 12 to 14 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort.
During the summit, the candidates were able to express their beliefs and plans of action to more than 2,500 people who attended.
Among the presidential candidates in attendance, past Republican figures such as former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney were in attendance.
A couple of FGCU students from the College Republican Club attended the summit without any school funding.
“The summit was a great experience,” said Richard Raps, the president of the FGCU College Republicans Club. “A few of our club members got to meet Republican presidential candidates like Ben Carson and Marco Rubio in person. I learned a lot from the conference.”
Donald Trump and Ben Carson drew in the largest crowds. Their booths and talks were filled with attendees, waiting to hear their thoughts on a variety of policies.
Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were looking to gain the support from those in their own state. Both were looking to regain momentum through the Sunshine Summit and connect with the people who had previously voted them into office.
The summit allowed the people to see all the different candidates and see their strengths and weaknesses without being pressed for time like they are in debates.
The summit took place during the same weekend that tragedy struck in Paris, France where the terrorist group ISIS carried out a series of attacks.
The morning after the terrorist attacks, Nov. 14, candidates spoke about homeland security as well as the fight against terror. The candidate’s attentions quickly shifted to foreign policy approaches, and many criticized President Barack Obama for how it has been handling the ISIS crisis.
All of the presidential and U.S. Senate candidates present had campaign booths all weekend long. Not only could the summit attendees get merchandise, but they could be added to campaign fundraising and volunteer mailing lists.
Both the Republican and Democratic primaries for Florida are on March 15, 2016.