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GOP Delegates Nominate Mitt Romney; Ron Paul Backers Protest

(Chris Maddaloni CQ/Roll Call File Photo)
(Chris Maddaloni CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney cinched his party’s nomination early this evening, capturing sufficient support among delegates at the Republican National Convention.

The Republican faithful erupted into cheers as Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) announced Romney collected the support of 2,061 delegates. Immediately following, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) was nominated by acclamation for vice president.

However, the nominations of Romney and Ryan were preceded by an intraparty feud over a new RNC rules package pushed through by party officials and the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and opposed by some grass-roots conservatives and delegates supportive of Rep. Ron Paul (Texas). Delegates for and against the rules changed tried to shout each other down multiple times.

Still, the fighting ended when the convention program moved on to the roll call vote of nominating delegates. In traditional style, officials announced their delegate tallies, state by state. New Jersey put Romney over the edge, pushing the new nominee past the necessary 1,144 votes around 5:40pm.

Throughout the roll call vote, Paul supporters jeered from the stands. On the floor, shouting matches ensued in the Nevada delegation between Paul and Romney backers. Boehner presided over a contentious voice vote to approve a new RNC rules package. Paul supporters protested from the stands, chanting “Seat Maine now!” and “Point of order!”

Ann Romney is expected to address the convention inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum later this evening, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is the convention’s keynote speaker.

Throughout the afternoon, several candidates addressed the crowd in brief two-minute speeches, including Rep. Rick Berg, running for Senate in North Dakota, and state Sen. Deb Fischer, running for Senate in Nebraska.

Freshman Reps. Dan Benishek (Mich.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Sean Duffy (Wis.) spoke, along with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), an ardent Romney supporter.

Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report.