The newly-reinstated complete Florida delegation opened their convention Monday morning with a pep talk from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about the state’s importance in the Electoral College map.
Their first breakfast meeting came just hours after the Democratic National Committee voted on Sunday to reinstate all of Florida’s 210 delegates after threatening to not seat them at the convention as punishment for moving its primary calendar earlier than rules permitted.
Despite the threat, Florida elected a delegation with a majority of their delegates slated to go to Sen. Hillary Clinton. The DNC decided none of those delegates would be seated and then in a stormy May meeting changed their mind to seat part of the delegation — a move that essentially put the nomination beyond Clinton’s reach.
For Alison Morano, the chairwoman of the Pasco County Democratic Party, it was the end to the saga she had expected.
“I knew it was going to happen. We did it right the whole way through. It was just a matter of getting here and getting a nominee. I knew that whoever the nominee was going to seat us,” Morano said Monday.
Democrats hope that Florida will be a swing state and many delegates cited this as the best reason to get their full representation on the convention floor. But Obama is looking beyond the traditional toss-ups to pick up other traditionally Republican states such as Georgia, Indiana and Montana.
The Florida delegation — as Villaraigosa stressed — prides itself for being a diverse mix of African Americans, Hispanics, women and members of the LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, community.
Dayna Firth, the youngest Florida delegate at 19 years old, is a LGBT delegate; Ten percent of Florida’s delegation comes from the LGBT community.
“It’s exciting. The cool thing about this convention, which has never happened before, is that we’ve met all of our diversity quotas. So that’s really exciting and I’m really proud to be a member of my community,” she said.
The delegates plan to make a splash at the first night of the convention as they sport pink glasses and try to inflate their smuggled-in beach balls on the convention floor while seated in the front row.
Florida will be neighbors with the Delaware delegation who moved from the nosebleed section to the very front after Obama picked their Sen. Joe Biden as his vice presidential candidate.