Anticipation builds in Tampa ahead of Romney's speech

by: Blair Miller Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

On Thursday night, Gov. Mitt Romney will take the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

There's been such a buildup to the final day and, after Thursday night, the focus shifts to Charlotte. It's a focus many have not seen before.

The 55 delegates in Tampa from North Carolina are anxious for Thursday’s conclusion of the RNC.  An estimated 50,000 people are in Tampa, and the arena will be full for the prime time speech.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a one-time consideration for VP candidate and a rising star in the Republican Party, will speak right before Romney.

Analysts say Romney must try to connect to people and show he can relate, especially with the middle class.

Richard Hudson, who's running for Congress in the Charlotte area against Larry Kissell, has been in Tampa this week. He said Thursday night's speech is more than just a chance for Romney to connect, but also to lay out his plans for America.

“We have got to get people working and this government spending, spend our way out of a recession plan that Larry Kissell and President Barack Obama put forward hasn't worked, so it's time to try something new,” Hudson said.

Romney takes the stage Thursday in the 10 p.m. hour. There is also expected to be a surprise speaker.