Reporting Jon Keller
TAMPA, Fla. (CBS/AP) — When Republicans nominated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, their vote brought to an end a long primary fight and set the stage for a close contest against President Barack Obama.
In a roll call of states Tuesday, New Jersey put Romney over the top, giving him the prize that eluded him four years ago. Romney is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination in a speech Thursday night.
“It’s incredibly exciting I think for all of the Mass. delegates and all of the people who have worked hard for the governor for the last few years,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. “He’s going to make a tremendous president.”
For Romney’s longtime adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, there is little time to savor the moment. “Job one Thursday night is to get the opportunity to speak to 65 million people, it’s a big moment for the governor,” Fehrnstrom told WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller.
Republican voters flirted with a carousel of GOP rivals before settling on Romney, who effectively clinched the nomination in May. All of Romney’s former GOP competitors have endorsed him, with the exception of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Paul did not have enough support to have his name placed in nomination, but he got 190 votes in the roll call. Romney finished with 2,061, well over the 1,144 needed to claim the nomination.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got nine votes while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Louisiana Gov. Charles “Buddy” Roemer each got one each.
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