Since Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential pick Saturday, the nation has been buzzing about Paul Ryan.
In Forsyth County, Republicans are rallying behind the Wisconsin congressman’s record, while local Democrats view him as too conservative.
Romney, the Republican presidential hopeful, said his choice of Ryan was based on leadership and values. That’s also what Forsyth County Republican Party Chairman Ethan Underwood likes about Ryan.
“He’s going to energize the conservative wing of the Republican Party,” Underwood said. “I think a lot of the Tea Party members of the Republican Party are looking for someone who is a tested conservative, and he is willing to make hard decisions on budget cuts.
“Ryan offers a really good insight and I think he will be supported by Catholic voters.”
Ryan, whose budget proposal includes major slashes to various government programs, could have some problems pulling in senior citizen votes, Underwood said.
He’s certainly not appealing to the female vote, said Sharon Gunter, chairwoman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party.
“When the public understands exactly what is at stake and who this person is and what he stands for … it’s going to be very personal with everybody,” she said. “It’s real personal with me.”
Gunter said Ryan is worse than Romney, specifically over his budget proposals, which she said go after Social Security and Medicare.
“Those are not entitlements,” she said. “Those are people who have paid into it all their life. That is not something they are just generously giving to people … it’s not something people are going to sit back and take lightly.”
Both Underwood and Gunter agree that Ryan, a Catholic, is no moderate. He is known for his fiscal conservatism, but he has also not waivered in his stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.
However, his strong positions against both are what make him stand out from Romney, whose stance has fluctuated over the years.
“I think a lot of the social conservatives have had difficulty embracing Romney and I think this will reach out to Catholic voters as well as conservative Christian voters,” Underwood said.
“He brings the ability to reach out to social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and I think he’s a good pick … you need a candidate people can get energized behind.”
Georgia’s two Republican U.S. senators are also pleased with Romney’s pick.
“When it comes to budgetary matters, few in Washington are more respected than he is,” said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson felt the same way about Ryan’s discipline on fiscal issues, saying “he has real solutions to get our nation back on a path of prosperity.”