TAMPA, Fla. — Dancing delegates proudly bedecked in military- and state-themed flare, hours of rules discussion and official rigmarole, and roll-calling the state delegations: It’s all good, ’cause it means we can officially stop calling Mitt Romney the “presumptive Republican nominee” now! Not that anyone was really bothering with that anymore anyhow, but hey, the proprieties must be observed. The delegates painted a typically colorful picture on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday afternoon — the classic Wisconsin cheeseheads and Texas cowboy hats were of course well-represented, and the excitement was palpable.
There was plenty of trepidation that the official nomination proceedings would end up with a full-on Ron Paulite-led floor fight on their hands, but nothing much came of it. After speeches from a string of dignitaries, officials, and Republican candidates, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu was the lucky speaker who presided over the voice vote on the recent rule changes, during which the Ron Paul supporters definitely voiced their disgruntlement (“Point of order!”-chanting and so forth). After a few minutes, however, things settled back down, and besides some enthusiastic cheering whenever Ron Paul’s name was mentioned during the delegate count, the proceedings kept on going pretty much pro forma.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona… each state had a representative speak briefly to affirm the support of their delegates for Mitt Romney (my personal favorite expression of state pride: “Idaho, the first to sue ObamaCare!”, heh). There were a few exceptions, with Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, etcetera actually having more delegates committed to Ron Paul (cue wild cheers), but after New Jersey’s turn came the “Over the top” alert indicating that Mitt Romney hit the 1,144 votes he needed to lock this thing up.
So, that’s the official nomination clinched — onward!
Update: Yep, Speaker Boehner just wrapped up the state roll call, and Mitt has more than plenty of delegates. “Shout” was the music selection of choice; celebrations ensued. Good times, good times.