Republicans Open Harrisonburg Office

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

We're just a few days away from knowing who the Democrats will nominate as a candidate for Virginia governor.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is getting ready for an intense fight for the governor's mansion.

"Are you all ready to make the I-81 corridor dark, dark red again," asks Craig Orndorff to an audience of about three dozen Republican Party faithful at the opening of a campaign office in Harrisonburg Friday.

Among the group is Tracy Evans, chair of Harrisonburg's Republican committee.

"We're not taking any time off. We are not taking anything for granted. Everybody knows how things turned out last November," says Evans.

Republicans lost state-wide and even local elections in this traditionally red area in 2008. Now, Del. Steve Landes, Del. Matt Lohr, and the Valley's other delegates all face Democratic opposition this fall.

"People are sensing, I think from the election last fall that they're going to turn the Shenandoah Valley blue. And we know that's not going to happen," says Lohr.

"And not taking one vote for granted. If you see a Democrat, let's try to convert them. If you can't, move on. If you find an independent, we've got to have them," says Landes.

The top of the Republican party ticket is already set, and the candidates are campaigning across Virginia. The Democrats will hold their primary Tuesday.

Regardless of who wins that vote, the Republicans recognize the potential challenges in areas like fundraising. They're waiting to see if Democratic momentum from 2008 will carry through to 2009.

Evans says, "The core Republican values are going to be something that we're going to re-introduce to folks who may have been Republican at one time or may have been Democrat at one time but because of recent events can say, 'You know what? I really do like what the Republicans stand for, and I think I can get on board with that.'"

People remarked Friday about how early in the campaign season the office has opened. Volunteers will be out Saturday, going to door-to-door in the morning and afternoon, trying to win votes.


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