Greg Allen /NPR
Diners at Casa Marin restaurant gather on Florida's primary night.
Diners at Casa Marin restaurant gather on Florida's primary night. Greg Allen /NPR
With the big Mitt Romney victory party underway in Tampa, about 40 Romney volunteers watched returns at Casa Marin restaurant in the Cuban stronghold of Hialeah in Miami-Dade County.
This is the place Romney visited Sunday and again tonight, and it's quite a different scene. It's noisy, but low-key — mostly a Spanish-speaking crowd.
Charles Dharapak/Associated Press
Mitt Romney campaigns at Casa Marin restaurant in Hialeah, Fla., on Sunday.
Mitt Romney campaigns at Casa Marin restaurant in Hialeah, Fla., on Sunday. Charles Dharapak/Associated Press
The restaurant's TV screens were tuned to a local Spanish-language station. While occasional updates of primary results appeared on screen, many diners weren't paying attention. They were here to see their friends and were pretty confident in the election outcome.
This is a community that came together behind local Cuban-American leaders to support Mitt Romney in a big way. Supporters at Casa Marin say Romney has the right position on U.S. relations toward Cuba.
Romney picked up the support of several Hispanic lawmakers in Miami- Dade County, including Hialeah City Councilman Paul Hernandez, who attended the Casa Marin victory party.
"People admire that this was a man who made it in the private sector. Not only made it, succeeded very well in the private sector, and that's something that our electorate looks at as admirable because it's the American dream," says Hernandez. "It's fulfilling the American dream."