By Juliet Eilperin
MIAMI -- Thirty-five-year-old Charlie Delano has been a self-proclaimed "McCainiac" since 1999. Tonight, finally, he felt like a winner.
"Whoo-hoo!" Delano hooted as the television screens in the Hilton Miami Airport's International Ballroom displayed Arizona Sen. John McCain's win. "I've been in the bag for him for a decade, and this is the best night for any McCainiac."
Delano lives in Jersey City and works on Wall Street in a foreign exchange firm; last week he came down to Florida to volunteer for the campaign. As a former Massachusetts resident, he actually attended the 2000 GOP convention as a McCain delegate, since that year the senator beat George W. Bush handily in Massachusetts.
This year Delano doesn't intend to be a delegate, but he doesn't mind if people like Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) take center stage: "We've got the establishment this time, so all these big guns will be the delegates."
More important, he said, is that his candidate of choice -- who first impressed him nearly a decade ago with his handling of the conflict with Kosovo -- had won in a Republican-only primary.
"For years we've been told we can't win with Republicans, we can't win with conservatives," Delano said. "To come out and prove all of that wrong is just the sweetest feeling in the world."
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