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Florida Delegation Ready For GOP Convention

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CLEVELAND (CBSMiami) - Outside the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, armed officers and chain link fences surround the event space, a fitting reminder of one of this year's big campaign themes.

Monday's program is actually titled, "Make America Safe Again".

Blaise Ingoglia, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, says it's a key issue for Florida voters.

"I think that this election is going to be a security election. It's going to be about economic security. It's going to be about National Security," Ingoglia said.

Ingoglia, like many other top party leaders, arrived in Cleveland a few days ahead of the convention.

"Just the energy just on the floor, it's not even full," Ingoglia said. "You can feel it. It's tangible."

Florida's 99-member delegation will be in the center of the action for the four days of festivities.

The floor map shows Florida in the middle of the convention floor behind New York, two states Donald Trump calls home.

For many in Cleveland this week, this isn't their first trip to a political convention.  But Florida International University student Rey Anthony is making his RNC debut as the youngest Hispanic delegate.

"It's not something I expected at all. I never expected to be 20 years old and going to perhaps one of the most important events in the history of democracy and this history of the United States," Anthony said.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is scheduled to speak at the convention, but several key Floridian political power players will not be here this week.

Sen. Marco Rubio will focus on campaigning for Senate instead, but the RNC says he will appear via video message.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was an avid Jeb Bush supporter, is also absent.

The state party chair says the GOP is united, despite the no-shows.

"You can see, the people are rallying around our nominee and we're ready to take on Hillary in November," Ingoglia said.

Florida's delegation will have its own events to attend, including a breakfast speaker's series featuring people like Ben Carson, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Later this week, they'll also tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so it's not all work and no play.

This week is just as much about schmoozing as it is about officially nominating a candidate and promoting party unity.

CBS 4's Lauren Pastrana is in Cleveland. Follow her on



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