Friends of Mitt Romney Office Opens in Spartanburg
The group is operating independently of the Romney for President campaign and needs volunteers.
The day after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucuses, the Friends of Mitt Romney office in Spartanburg was strangely quiet.
There were no ringing phones, no bustling office workers and no campaign volunteers.
The office was opened on Wednesday, but only a few supporters gathered at 1002 S. Pine St. in Spartanburg.
But that’s something the independent organization of Friends of Mitt Romney hopes to change.
COMING MONDAY: Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul are working on their SC grassroots campaign, hoping for another strong finish.
The group is quickly organizing volunteers with the first meeting to be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“This is a chance for volunteers to meet and to volunteer for activities for the campaign leading up to the Jan. 21 GOP primary,” according to Rick Beltram, who has organized the group.
Beltram said it would be a time to pick-up yard signs and bumper stickers, and for people to get involved in the campaign.
Tuesday night, Romney emerged victorious over former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania by a razor-thin margin of just eight votes, according to the Huffington Post.
Now, it’s time to get the Upstate charged for a Romney victory, Beltram said.
Friends of Mitt Romney will operate independently from the Romney campaign, giving them latitude to raise their own funds and the ability to spend the money on projects deemed important. But, it also means they will have to recruit their own volunteers and doing so on a compressed on a less than three-week schedule is going to be a challenge.
But it’s one that Beltram, Deane Brown and Mary Ann Riley are up for, after all this is old territory for them, they’ve done it before.
“We will be making phone calls, set up robo calling and looking at the hot spots from the 2008 primary,” Beltram said. “We know what candidate did well and where in the state they did well.”
But that’s not to say it will be an easy victory for Romney. The Upstate was not an area that Romney did well in during the 2008 election.
Even with the Iowa win, Beltram said anything could happen.
But the group said there are several takeaways from the Iowa victory. Romney will have to focus on jobs and the economy in South Carolina. Iowa also showed that “retail politics” worked, so volunteers will have to stay on point with the message and get out and meet people and convince them to vote for Romney.
“We may not be able to win the Upstate, but we may be able to cut the margins for others who identify with evangelicals,” Beltram said.
“The polling was very accurate for the Iowa Caucuses,” Beltram said. “We have to get Romney supporters, their wives and their friends to the polls on Jan. 21, that’s our mission for the next three weeks. “
Beltram said the group would be writing letters to the editor in the local paper the Herald-Journal in Spartanburg and also to the paper’s Stroller. They’ll have literature drops in targeted areas of Spartanburg County and will again launch the blog, spartanburgforreal.com, to send email blasts to Romney supporters.
Beltram said the corps constituency group for Romney is going to be the business community.
“It is crucial that we get them to the polls and don’t get caught up in a golf game or out-of-town on a business trip,” Beltram said. “This group is what we refer to as casual Republicans. If you can get them to the polls they will vote for you, but they are not always reliable.”
“We want to get them to the polls and to take a group of people them,” said Deane Brown, who also is volunteering with the group.
But how does Romney identify with the state, supporter Mary Ann Riley said they have to start with jobs and economy.
“Romney is the most electable candidate,” Riley said. “Voters may like someone else better, but when it comes down to it you have to look at who’s electable.”
Beltram said he was up until 3 a.m. watching the Iowa numbers come in.
“I thought Romney would be a close third,” Romney said.
“This is South Carolina’s time to make a difference,” Beltram said. “South Carolina has to decide who can beat Obama. Once Jan. 21 is over, we are done. We are no longer in the national spotlight.”
With less than three weeks, volunteers are going to be crucial. Brown said there are Republicans in Spartanburg County ready to make a difference.
“People were excited back a few months ago about the election,” Brown said. “We have to get them excited again. And tell them, here’s your chance to get involved.”
“We are going to give everyone an assignment, we want them all to feel like they are part of the process,” Beltram said.
Anyone is invited to volunteer with Friends of Mitt Romney. For more information, contact 864-582-1717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Romney for President office is expected to be opened in Greenville next week, however, Patch has not received details for that opening at this time.