TAMPA – Republican delegates here officially nominated Mitt Romney as the party's presidential candidate when the Republican National Convention, after a weather-delayed opening, convened Tuesday afternoon.
Despite a loud objection from some supporters of Ron Paul, Romney easily eclipsed the 1,144 delegate threshold needed to clinch the GOP nomination, finishing with 2,161 pledged delegates.
But GOP officials are still concerned about being overshadowed by Hurricane Isaac, expected to make landfall in Louisiana Tuesday night, just as Ann Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are set to address the RNC, and the country, during prime time.
Colorado's delegation, led by state party chairman Ryan Call and Luke Kirk, 20, the group's youngest member, announced that 28 of their 36 delegates pledged their support to Romney.
"Id like to encourage youth everywhere to get involved!" Kirk said during his brief moments at the microphone as he spoke on behalf of the delegation.
"Stay involved and let's take this nation back!"
President Barack Obama, who spoke Tuesday morning about the approaching storm, is still scheduled to travel to Fort Collins, Colo. for a large campaign rally at Colorado State University Tuesday night.
"Barack Obama is visiting Colorado State University. Under his policies, One out of ever two college graduates is either underemployed or underemployed. His policies have failed," GOP Congressman Cory Gardner, whose district is home to CSU, told FOX31 Denver Tuesday on the convention floor.
Prior to officially nominating Romney, delegates enthusiastically supported the official GOP platform that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.
Delegates were more divided over other procedural issues, the adopting of a committee report on delegates that refused to seat a delegation of Ron Paul supporters from Maine, causing some in that state's delegation to walk out, and a change in RNC rules, one of which allows two-thirds of the RNC leadership, rather than the convention as whole, to change any party rule.
Loud boos echoed through the Tampa Bay Times Forum as the rule changes were adopted on a voice vote, but Call downplayed any rift.
"I know there's always going to be a little bit of drama at conventions," he said. "That's what makes these things fun."
Beyond Tampa, both campaigns are also closely watching Isaac, which poses different challenges for both sides.
While the President can't afford to appear to be focused elsewhere as a storm bears down on Louisiana, Republicans can't afford the optics of continuing on with over-the-top convention stagecraft if and when any Gulf coast communities have been devastated by a hurricane.
While Obama's rally is aimed primarily at Colorado voters, Romney's convention is being put on for the entire country, and his campaign is hoping voters actually tune in.
Ann Romney's speech Tuesday night aims to humanize her husband and solidify his likability, but that challenge will ultimately come down to how Mitt Romney does in his own speech on Thursday, the RNC's final night.
Karl Rove, the former adviser to President George W. Bush, told FOX31 Denver that, in this economy, likability isn't as important.
"Did people in 1964 think a foul-mouthed Texan named Lyndon B. Johnson was more likable? In 1968, do you think America really liked Richard Nixon? No," Rove said. "They decided that they were simply the right president for that time.
"Mitt Romney is the right president to get our economy back on track. He just needs to convince the American people."
TUNE IN to FOX31 Denver News at Five and Nine for live reports from Tampa.AlertMe