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POLITICS

Virginia delegation settles in for GOP convention

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Politics,Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Geraldine Davie wasn't sure who the Republican presidential nominee would be last October when Mitt Romney stopped by the a crowded and loud Fairfax County party headquarters just days before Virginia's legislative elections.

Romney picked up a phone and called a Northern Virginia voter and left him a voicemail, telling him to vote Republican in the upcoming election. Davie was happy for the help.

Now, she's happy to return the favor and help Romney formally secure the GOP nomination.

"We're here to endorse Romney-Ryan, nominate them, and let's move on with the campaign," Davie said Sunday. "We've been working a long time getting support for Ryan, so we want to get this done, choose, and go win."

Davie, a convention delegate from Virginia's 11th District, is one of more than 60 delegates from the Old Dominion on hand this week to partake in the quadrennial politicking and pageantry known as the party convention. With the rest of the delegation, she's staying in a plush, oceanfront hotel in the resort community of Clearwater.

Under sunnier circumstances, it's a placement that likely underscores Virginia's importance at this convention and in the November elections. Instead, with Tropical Storm Isaac creeping cutting across the Florida Keys and headed for land, the state delegation's location only underscores how weather has affected what should have been the party's biggest moment of the campaign.

Still, there was plenty of excitement in the hotel lobby as delegates prepared to head toward the convention site for a kickoff party that was held even though the theatening storm already prompted the canceling of opening day festivities.

"We're just going to move on," Davie said. "Maybe these conventions should just be three days and three nights anyway."

In many ways, Virginia Republicans, many of them present Sunday, launched a Republican turnaround that has led to this moment. It was Virginia that elected Gov. Bob McDonnell just 12 months after President Obama scored a historic victory there and a year before Republicans recaptured the U.S. House of Representatives.

Now, Virginia is likely to decide who wins the presidential election. For Romney, there is perhaps no more important state on the electoral map.

"We take it very seriously. Northern Virginia especially is very important," said Marta Saltus, an alternate delegate in the 8th Congressional District. "That's why we're on the ground. We're really energized and ready to win."

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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