“He made me proud to be a Republican,” said Juliana Bergeron, a former Cheshire County, New Hampshire party chair and current Republican National Committeewoman from New Hampshire. “I thought he did great, except maybe for the little drink of water in the middle.”

Bergeron noted earlier GOP State of the Union responses from Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal and said of Rubio, “I thought he did the best rebuttal I’ve seen.”

“I was really with him on this speech,” Bergeron continued. “Tonight was the first night that I really thought that he is somebody I could support for president. There’s a lot of time, and I’m not committing to that, but this time I thought this person could be a contender for president.”

“He certainly helped himself tonight,” said Loras Schulte, chairman of the Benton County, Iowa Republican Party. “I’ve been impressed with him a long time. He’s one of the rising stars of the party, and I think the values that I hold as a Republican burn in him as they burn in me.”