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Party faithful energized for campaign
Conventions rally support
Richard and Lyn Ward were two of four Forsyth County residents to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Boarding the bus for the last day of the Republican National Convention, Forsyth resident Peggy Green reflected on her experience as one of four delegates and alternates representing the county.

“To be a delegate and on the convention floor is definitely an exciting experience,” she said. “It’s just been a lot of fun to talk to a lot of the legislators.

“We had Rep. John Boehner speak to us at a breakfast we had and we had David Ralston speak to us, so there’s been a lot of excitement.”

Green was joined by Frank Simpson, Richard Ward and Johnny Merritt as Forsyth’s four delegates and alternates from a pool of about 4,400 at the convention.

Venda Rhea Young of Forsyth County is among the Democratic convention’s nearly 6,000 delegates gathered this week in Charlotte, N.C. Among the scheduled speakers there are former President Bill Clinton and former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

And while there may have been less suspense than at past conventions, it couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees, including Ward’s wife Lyn, who also traveled last week to Tampa.

Despite being actively involved in the Republican Party for many years, it was the first time Lyn Ward had been to a convention.

She said she was inspired listening to speeches from some of the party’s biggest names, including Mike Huckabee, Condoleezza Rice, John McCain and Chris Christie, as well as presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

“The speakers [were] excellent,” she said, adding Rice was her favorite. “It’s not just what you see on TV, it’s so much more. On TV, you’re just watching the one person speaking. You can’t see what’s going on. You can’t see the newscasters … the people walking around on the floor shaking hands, meeting people, doing politics.”

Lynn Ward said she and her husband have worked on many campaigns for all levels of Republican candidates, but “we’re even more excited” after the convention.

“It’s going to make me work harder. It’s going to fire me up,” she said. “We can’t give a lot of money, so all we can do is work.”

During his time at the gathering in Tampa, which was delayed a day by Tropical Storm Isaac, Simpson said he saw a lot of the same energy as his first convention in 2008.

Security, he added, was tight. Delegates had to go through a daily check-in process and certain places were off limits.

But the extra safety measures are worth the excitement of being there, he said. Listening to Ryan give his vice presidential nomination acceptance speech was a highlight for Simpson.

“He’s a lightning rod to the convention,” he said. “He has so much enthusiasm with him. He’s young and he has a lot of things energetic going for him.”

Simpson likes his party’s chances this fall.

“The Georgia delegates are solid behind the Republican Party and we think that we’ll have a new president in the White House,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I know we will.”

In the presidential preference election, Green, like the rest of Georgia, was a staunch supporter of Newt Gingrich. But since Gingrich didn’t win the nomination, “I’m 100 percent on board with Mitt Romney and I think he’ll be an excellent president.”

“I’m looking forward to the election and I think he’s got the expertise to run the country,” she said. “He has the ability to turn things around for the companies that he’s worked for and the Olympics. So I think he’ll do what it takes and has the right ideas for our country.”