NE Fla. plays key role in hosting RNC

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A week from now, the party officially starts.

Florida is hosting the Republican National Convention Aug. 27-30. The final night is when Mitt Romney is expected to accept the nomination as candidate for president.

While Tampa gets set to host tens of thousands of visitors from all over the country, northeast Florida is playing a key role.

The Duval County Republicans were meeting Monday on Beach Boulevard to talk about the last-minute details and the long-term strategy for the RNC.

"It's like the Super Bowl of politics," said Leslie Dougher, an official delegate to the RNC.

Dougher, who lives in Middleburg, plans on living her political dream in Tampa next week by experiencing the convention firsthand.

"I've never been to this before, so it will actually be very exciting to watch the process take place," Dougher said. "I know we'll see a lot of speakers. (New Jersey) Gov. (Chris) Christie will be there. I'm really excited to hear him."

Dougher chairs the Clay County Republican Party, and she's running a Romney Victory Office on Blanding Boulevard. She believes the northeast Florida connection to the GOP convention is crucial for conservatives throughout the U.S.

"As we've been making phone calls to independents and Democrats, as well as Republicans, they just feel energized to get to November," Dougher said. "They are not happy with where our country is right now, and they really want to see it move forward."

Dougher's main goal before she leaves for Tampa? Making sure the office runs well without her for a week and that the campaign messages keep moving forward.

"Electoral college votes: That's what it boils down to," she said.

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