Nation & World

Registered Republican nominated Obama in Denver

Check out McClatchy's expanded politics coverage.

DENVER — Mike Wilson, an Iraq War veteran from Melbourne, Fla., had no idea when he contributed $5 to Barack Obama's campaign last September it would lead to a speaking part at the Democratic National Convention.

On Wednesday, Wilson, a registered Republican, learned that he'd been tapped to officially nominate Obama as the Democratic nominee for president.

Wilson knew he was getting three minutes on stage, but the national party didn't announce until Wednesday that he would make the official nomination.

The $5 campaign contribution — and an essay explaining why the registered Republican was supporting Obama — won him dinner with the Illinois senator last September -- and now, a 3-minute gig at the convention.

"I got an e-mail from his national campaign manager, he said Senator Obama remembered me from dinner and wanted me to do the honor of speaking for him," Wilson said. "I was totally blown away.''

He and Janet Lynn Monaco, a Melbourne pet store owner, took the stage Wednesday to, as the campaign says, "celebrate how everyday Americans are coming together to change the course of a nation."

"Just your average beer drinking guy down the street, that's me," Wilson said.

"Even though I'm a registered Republican I would hope people would vote across party lines for the candidate who would do the best job," Wilson said. "The Republicans don't really have a candidate who reflects the path America should take."