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Saturday, February 10, 2007
posted by Ryan Thompson | 7:50 PM | permalink
The Michigan Republican Party had its convention over the last two days (Friday and Saturday) in Grand Rapids, the home of late President Gerald Ford. On this cold February weekend, around 3000 of the Michigan Republican Party faithful gathered to elect statewide party offices and listen to two perspective Presidential candidates give speeches including Mitt Romney.

In regards to the Michigan Republican Party officer elections, every race except the Youth Chair race, the lowest statewide office, featured only one candidate. The Youth Chair race came down to a nailbitting recount of the 9th Congressional District caucus, where the margin of victory of Matt Hall fell from 20 to 8. Both candidates tried to appeal to the camps of the respective Presidential candidates for support as seen with both having endorsements from multiple camps. I was sort of shocked by the closeness of the race as many expected Hall to win by a wide margin.

Beyond the party office races, the Presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Sam Brownback had representatives and volunteers at the convention. I was helping the Romney campaign by doing the general campaign work like handing out stickers, manning tables, etc... While the McCain camp was expected to have a large delegation seeing their strength in the western part of Michigan, the Romney team had a large presence.

The reaction of the delegates and others at the convention to Romney's candidacy shocked me. I knew Mitt was popular among the party faithful, but the exceptionally strong levels of support for Mitt convinced many of us that he is the favorite among the majority of the party activists at the convention. While this is driven to a certain extent by fond memories of his father's three terms as Governor among the older delegates, some of whom shared their memories of George Romney to the volunteers, a great deal of Mitt's support comes from those who are impressed by Mitt himself.

Along with these exciting details, it is obviously important to note that Mitt's speech to the Convention was very impressive as he talked about his record, his family, and his vision for America. The strong support for Mitt was evident from the crowd's reaction to his speech and the impressive welcome he received as he entered the convention hall. Along with his speech, his receptions on Friday night and Saturday afternoon were well attended by the party faithful.

The convention definitely showed the strength of Mitt's campaign in Michigan at levels I did not even expect to see. From seeing the reaction to Romney at the convention, I am more confident than ever he has a strong chance in the Michigan primary next year.

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