Elect 2012: Romney campaign bus stops in town
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Though it didn’t carry the presidential candidate himself, the Mitt Romney for President campaign bus visited Rowan County on Thursday afternoon.
About 120 Republicans packed into the party’s South Main Street headquarters for the grand opening of the North Carolina Victory Center in Salisbury.
The center is one of 20 across the state organizing volunteers in support of Romney and other federal, state and local Republican candidates.
Wayne King, vice chair of the N.C. Republican Primary, told the crowd that their support is critical to defeat President Barack Obama this year.
“North Carolina is a battleground state,” King said. “We have not won the election of 2012. … It’s going to be centers like this that are going to help us get our vote out and win on Nov. 8.”
N.C. Rep. Harry Warren said one of his daughters has already made hundreds of phone calls as a volunteer at the Victory Center.
“North Carolina is not going to be a swing state,” Warren said. “It’s going to be stuck, a little bit to the right. … And it’s going to take us coming together to make this happen.”
Richard Hudson said he won the Republican primary for N.C. House District 8 because his campaign knocked on 30,000 doors and called close to 50,000 people.
He said the same effort will be needed to turn a state that went to Obama in 2008 into a “Romney landslide” in 2012.
Hudson criticized Obama’s health care reform law, his economic policies and his views about business. He said the president’s recent comments to business owners are “baloney,” referring to Obama’s statement, “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made it happen.”
“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a candidate in North Carolina who understands business and understands the private sector,” Hudson said, speaking about Romney. “He’s shown us he knows how to take conservative solutions and make them into conservative policy.”
Christina Lynch, of Salisbury, said she thinks it’s great that Rowan County got Romney’s campaign to stop by, even if the man himself couldn’t come. The presidential candidate is currently in London, England, for the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
“Hopefully it brought more attention to Romney,” Lynch said. “Once (the bus) pulled up, we had more people stop.”
Salisbury resident Jackie Shaw said she thinks it was a good way to get some local excitement going for the campaign.
She said she’s planning to spend some time volunteering at the call center.
“Since North Carolina is what they call a swing state, we have the opportunity and responsibility to try to make a difference and try to get it to swing the way we want it to,” Shaw said.
Rachel Adams, the N.C. Victory communications director, said the campaign chose to put offices in places like Rowan County where there are dedicated volunteers who can get out the vote.
Democrats supporting Obama’s campaign also have set up an office in Salisbury at the Rowan County Democratic Party headquarters. Its grand opening is scheduled for next month.
“The Obama campaign has been a part of North Carolina since 2008 and our operation continues to grow across the state,” said Cameron French, the North Carolina press secretary for Obama for America, in an email to the Post. “Our volunteers are continually engaging with voters on the clear choice they have in November between the President’s vision for growing our economy from the middle out and Mitt Romney’s tried-and-failed agenda to put the wealthy and big corporations first.”
Ty Cobb, who lives near Rockwell, said he signed up to make phone calls at the Republican center. He said he’s actually not sure whether Romney will be a good president, but he thinks Obama wasn’t ready for the job and should not be re-elected.
“Obama has increased the national debt so much,” Cobb said. “Let’s have somebody with different credentials give it a try.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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