TAMPA, Fla. - Delegates from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, who worked to deliver Florida to Mitt Romney during the presidential primary season, watched him officially win the nomination for President of the United States.
"Florida was the state of his first major victory," said Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, referring to Romney's win on Jan. 31st over Newt Gingrich.
Mary Lynn Magar organized for Romney in Martin County in the weeks leading to the primary.
"In Martin County, we made a lot of phone calls," said Magar.
Romney had just lost in South Carolina, historically a must-win state on the Republican primary calendar. At the time, Newt Gingrich was surging.
Melissa Nash ran the Romney campaign in Palm Beach County.
"I spent Sunday at home in my PJs, with a pot of coffee, maybe two, and was just trying to keep myself motivated so I could keep my team motivated," said Nash.
Romney was victorious in that primary. In Palm Beach, he had double the votes Gingrich did. In Martin County, he won with nearly the same margin.
Nash says Romney's win in Florida led him here, but no candidate gets here alone.
"Getting to the point we are tonight requires a lot of man hours, a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication," said Nash. But Tampa isn't the finish line, not for Romney, not for his volunteers.
Florida was a must win in the primaries, and it's just as crucial in November. Magar says she's looking to the candidate himself - his speech Thursday - to lay out the case volunteers can bring to swing voters.
"To find some of those small talking points, to understand more in depth about some of the changes Mitt Romney wants to bring," said Magar.
Florida's delegates are hoping to reverse what has been a curse for the Republican party: they have not won the state their convention was held in since 1988.
That year, George H.W. Bush won Texas, though he lost the election to Bill Clinton.
Republicans will likely need to win Florida this time, as analysts say there are few, if any, paths to the presidency if Romney loses Florida to President Obama.
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