Supporters wait in rain for Romney’s first Va. Peninsula visit

By Kendra Johnson

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Rain and a daytime high of 55 degrees were not enough to deter supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from gathering Monday outside at Victory Landing Park for the GOP candidate’s first visit here.

Plans to move the event to an indoor venue were to be made Sunday evening; but as of that night, despite the National Weather Service’s forecast for 60-percent chance of rain on Monday, a representative from Romney’s campaign told the Daily Press that plans to have the nominee speak outside were still in place.

Cheryl Townson, 57, said while weather conditions were less than ideal, she felt it necessary to attend the rally for moral support.

“It’s not fun being out here in the cold and rain, but I’m pretty excited to see [him],” the Newport News native said. “He has a plan for this country and I believe in him.”

Monday’s rally was the first time Townson attended an event for the candidate. Conflicts of time and distance kept her from being present at his other Virginia events.

Security staff member Randall Miller, 42, said while he does not support Romney, the candidate’s ability to draw a crowd despite the unpleasant weather conditions is impressive.

“I’ve already made up my mind who I’m voting for,” Miller said. “But, this guy can clearly bring in a crowd. If nothing else, I’ll give him points for that.”

Miller said he wished plans had been made to move the event inside because he feared getting sick from standing in the cold rain.

“Obama or Romney, I don’t care who’s speaking, I don’t want to get sick for anybody,” Miller said. “Some lady brought her kids out here, I’m not knocking anybody for who they support, but you [have to] be smart about some things.”

Along with the woman and children Miller saw walking towards the area of the speech, nearly 300 other people were in attendance, including someone wearing an angry Big Bird costume and holding a sign that urged Romney to focus his energy on repairing Wall Street than eliminating “Sesame Street.”

The event was free to the public and began at 5 p.m. and Romney was expected to deliver a speech on foreign policy.

The writer is a senior in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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