Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up to the crowd in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Photographer: Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
The Republican Party that made Charlie Crist governor is hard to find these days.
Over bacon-n-eggs at the Innisbrook Resort, delegates like Jay Goldfarb of Wellington saw the new wave of Republicans continue to crest.
He watched congressional candidate Ted Yoho rally the troops as he makes a bid to sit in Florida's third district seat.
"We have developed a really hardcore group of rock stars," said Goldfarb.
"We got here because we did more barbecue dinners, more parades," said Yoho.
During his speech, Yoho of Central Florida said his was a winning primary campaign because of all the handshakes.
During an interview afterwards, he also credited a relatively-new distrust of incumbency.
"People have woken up and realized the career politicians created the problems we have or failed to prevent it, and neither is acceptable," said Yoho.
State party staffers say Yoho is one of at least three of this year's G-O-P congressional hopefuls who started businesses from scratch and rail against government intrusion.
Yoho says stories of personal success count for more than they used to.
He calls himself a self-made veterinarian.
"I think more is learned from a story than technique and all that," said Yoho. "It relates to people. The more you relate, the more support you have."
Add the 2010 class of congressman Allen West, Senator Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott, and you've got a new party.
Wellington delegate Jay Goldfarb says the new crop of candidates is better than the old ones because he sees their penchant for spending cuts as crucial for political success.
Still, he urges the party to be careful it doesn't lose swing voters.
"I have no problem with the economic fiscal far right wing," said Goldfarb. "I do worry a little bit about the social side. I'm a social moderate."
The other question some in the party are wrestling with is when does a newbie who campaigned against the establishment become the establishment himself?
Can you really be in congress and say you're not for the status quo?
Yoho isn't sure.
"As soon as we get elected and sworn in, I'm the establishment. We've always got to be vigilant."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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