Local Republicans impressed by convention
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY – Local participants in the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., say they’re impressed by what they’ve seen so far.
It doesn’t hurt that they’ve got a good view.
“North Carolina’s delegation is actually very close to the front,” said N.C. Sen. Andrew Brock. “Actually, we’re six rows back from the podium.”
Brock is serving as a delegate for the 5th Congressional District. He cast his vote Tuesday night for Mitt Romney, who overwhelmingly won the presidential nomination over U.S. Rep. Ron Paul – the only other candidate who didn’t release his pledged delegates from the primaries.
“It’s my first convention, and it’s great,” Brock said. “The city of Tampa has done a really good job having things for us and getting everything in order.”
He said it “set the mark” for Charlotte, which will host the Democratic National Convention next week.
Ben Lynch, vice president of the Rowan County Republican party, said he was struck by the well-organized security presence at the event.
“The logistics and security of an event like this – I’m utterly amazed,” Lynch said. “Even though they’re Democrats, I hope Charlotte pulls it off, too, because I really want Charlotte to shine.”
Lynch said he’s enjoying the atmosphere and excitement of the event.
“It’s been outstanding – a lot of fun and a definite learning experience,” Lynch said.
Most convention events were canceled Monday due to concerns about Hurricane Isaac. Brock said the weather was windy and rainy that day, and there have been some storms, but nothing severe in Tampa.
“Now they’ve squeezed the convention from four days into three days,” he said. “It’s a really busy four days, and we have lot of work to do, but we’re having a good time with it.”
Brock said he has met and reunited with “a whole bunch” of candidates, elected officials and people from other states and countries.
He said Republicans from a variety of backgrounds are energized by the party’s choices of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.
“It’s really amazing how many young people are here, active and engaged,” Brock said. “They’ve come out in force for the Romney-Ryan ticket.”
N.C. Rep. Harry Warren said what has most impressed him about the convention is the “cohesiveness and unity from people across the country.”
“This is my first national convention,” Warren said. “To see people coming together, you couldn’t tell where they were from… because they’re united in their dedication.”
All three agreed that the speakers were excellent.
Brock said Romney’s wife, Ann, was “fantastic” in her speech Tuesday night.
“She did such a good job last night,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t know how she would do up on stage. … But it was amazing.”
Lynch said the speech was heartfelt and passionate.
The candidate’s wife didn’t talk about politics, but instead about her relationship with her husband, Warren said.
“She really personalized Mitt Romney and tried to acquaint the audience with the more personal side of him, along with her and her kids,” Warren said. “She related to the audience. She was just very, very personable and gave a great speech.”
Ann Romney was followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who Warren said “just lit the house up.”
“He was challenging everybody to do the most to make this a successful campaign and successful election cycle, and he stressed the importance of conservative Republican victories,” he said. “He had everybody fired up.”
Warren said he was looking forward to hearing from former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Rep. John McCain, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday night.
“It’s so exciting to be here and be next to these national Republican figures,” Warren said.
Vice presidential nominee Ryan also spoke Wednesday, and Romney will take the stage tonight.Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.