Jon Voight at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Monday. (Roxanne Roberts / The Washington Post)

TAMPA — The title of Hollywood’s Senior Republican — long held by the late Charlton Heston — has officially passed to Jon Voight.

Sure, Clint Eastwood bestowed his endorsement on Romney this month, but it was Voight who came to Tampa. The 73-year-old Oscar winner — tan and casual in a blue shirt and navy windbreaker — walked the halls of the convention center Monday, trailed by a gaggle of fans snapping photos. His role here? Happily sharing his views on the coming election to anyone who asks.

“Everyone’s saying it’s the most important election of a lifetime,” he told us. “In my case, it is — and I’m older than most.”

Voight — who schmoozed the Virginia delegation in a surprise drop-in with Tagg Romney at their breakfast Monday — brought some sorely-needed star power to the convention. Politics has been his part-time gig for the past few years, following a Saint Augustine-like conversion to the Republican cause a few years ago.

“The Hollywood community is historically conservative,” he said. “All the people that I so admired growing up were very patriotic and loved the country.” But then came the left-wing “nonsense” of the 1960’s, which Voight admits he also got caught up in it. “I’m quite ashamed of it, actually. . . I know as much as anybody about this stuff and I know how poisonous it is.”

But that was then. Now Voight is an outspoken GOP loyalist and relentlessly cheerful whether he’s talking about President Obama’s socialism or Mitt Romney’s foreign policy. He knows Romney a “little bit” and calls Paul Ryan a “special fellow.” He’s ready to do. . . well, whatever helps support the team.

I’m just a cheerleader, here ” he laughed. “I couldn’t be more proud to be at their side.”

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