Romney Supporters Revel in Florida Win
Photo Credit: State Impact Florida
February 1, 2012 | WMFE - Mitt Romney won a decisive victory in Florida and hundreds of the supporters who put him back in frontrunner status were at the Tampa Convention Center Tuesday night to help the candidate celebrate.
Still wearing her “I Voted” sticker, Sarah Partin and three of her college friends were all smiles as they cooled off in an upper balcony of the Tampa Bay Convention Center.
Partin’s candidate had won and while her friends had sent an RSVP for the event, she had not but talked her way into the celebration with her self-described positive attitude.
“There was some music while we were waiting for Mitt and his wife to come out. They had a selection of fun upbeat music for us some people were dancing some cheering for him and mostly it was fun to be around it and people who feel the same way.” Partin said.
It was less than an hour since the last polls had closed in the panhandle. Mitt Romney had made his victory speech and it was all over. Yet Partin says she wasn’t disappointed the race was called so early.
“Now we have time to talk amongst ourselves and just celebrate here with Tampa Bay folks and Pinellas folks.” She said. “It’s just fun to be able to be so close to something that’s achieving such great things.”
One of the people who helped Romney achieve the Florida win is Bill Kilberg of Virginia who is on Romney’s national finance committee. He came down to Florida to be a part of the celebration. Kilberg was excited that Romney won more than 50 percent of the Hispanic vote but he believes their biggest victory was the I-4 corridor.
“That’s an area of the state we have a lot of independents, Democrats and Republicans fairly evenly balanced.” Kilberg said. “It tells you a lot if we can win there that we can win elsewhere in the country.”
He credits the campaign’s organization and focus on early voting and absentees for the win.
“The reality is that this campaign is very efficient very disciplined very collegial.” Kilberg said. “You saw it in the state of Florida. I mean the governor was on time for all events and that’s just a sign of good campaign organization.”
The Romney Campaign also was successful lining up support from many of the state’s Republican office holders such as Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, future Speaker of the Florida House Representative Will Weatherford and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Bondi said the state party is strong and will not split over this primary despite leaders like former Attorney General Bill McCollum’s backing of Newt Gingrich.
“We’re not going to let that happen to us. We’re not divisive and we get along you know what no matter who our nominee is we’re going to rally behind him.” Bondi said. “ We’re hoping of course it will be Mitt Romney.”
Romney’s supporters certainly rallied behind him at the voting booth and at his victory celebration where 19-year-old Abraham Bendoski was first in line with his parents to get into the ballroom. They drove more than two hours to revel in the victory with Romney
“I liked his principles and his standards and I like what he believed in. I like that he’s been married for like 42 years and that he has great standards in his church and his belief in his country, how he wants to bring it back and how he helped his own company.” Bendoski said “I think he can do the same for America to help build us back up.’
Bendoski is doing volunteer work right now. He’s a Mormon and preparing to go on a mission for his church, but says he will make sure he gets to vote in November.