CLEVELAND, Fla. – Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich is one of the many Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump defeated on his path to the nomination who was not invited to speak at the party’s convention this week in Cleveland.
Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush are skipping the convention entirely. None of the three have endorsed Trump.
That doesn’t seem to bother Republican delegates from Florida who gathered Monday morning for their first meeting as a state delegation at a hotel about 20 minutes from the Quicken Loans Center.
"There's a lot of excitement," Nassau County Republican Party Chairwoman Cherie Billings said. "We had a wonderful event the harbor and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night. "I think it's starting off very smoothly."
Billings and other Florida Republicans said they’ve worked through the narrowing of candidates. Billings points to the process as the reason she and others can now fully back Donald Trump.
"If you're not going to support the chosen candidate, then why were you involved in the process?" Billings said. "So when push comes to shove, he's our candidate."
Clay County delegate Henry Allen has been a Trump supporter from the beginning.
“Clay County was probably 85 percent Trump during the primary,” Allen said. “We really support him for the simple fact that he's going to bring change to Washington that we need from the establishment.”
Trump won Clay County's Republican primary in March with 51 percent, but that was double his nearest competitor.
“I have eight grandkids and great-grandkids and I am doing this for them,” Allen said. “We need to make America safe. Look at all the heroes in blue and what's happening here lately. It's going to happen more if we don't make the changes and make America safe again. And that's why Trump is the man who's going to make the change.”
Allen says he’s proud to represent Clay County and Florida, and that he believes America needs the outsider who can bring change.
“He’s a man who is not afraid to fight the Clinton machine,” Allen said. “I really think that this convention is going to bring the unity in the Republican Party that we need. He can pull them all together”