Republican Residents of Romney, W.Va., hope GOP candidate Mitt Romney stops by to visit

6:05 PM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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ROMNEY, W. Va. (WUSA) -- The polls may show President Obama pulling ahead in some critical swing states, but this is one place he's almost certain to lose.

The small town of Romney is about two and a half hours northwest of DC. It's a darn friendly place -- except when it comes to politics.
Romneyites say it's "almost heaven." "It's just a very quaint, wonderful little town," says Melanie Milliken, who runs the Hampshire County Chamber of Commerce out of a tiny room here in the county seat.

Romney's the oldest town in the oldest county of West Virginia.

Republicans here have been lobbying to get the Presidential nominee who shares the town's name stop by, December 23, 2012 for the town's 250th anniversary. "We certainly look forward to having President Mitt Romney come here to celebrate with us," says Rob Wolford of the Hampshire Co. GOP.

GOP headquarters sits on one side of Route 50. Democratic HQ is just across the highway. And the Chamber of Commerce sits between them. "I'm like the UN," says Milliken. "Talk family, talk schools, talk friends, just don't talk politics."

They subscribe to the same philosophy at the Courthouse Corner café. "Politics are bad for business," says one of the cooks.

But it doesn't always work. "I think Obama is evil," says Korean War vet John Dillinger. He offers few details.

"Personally, I prefer Obama," says Larry Brown, who is sitting at the next table. "But I don't think anybody can turn this thing around in four years."

The town of Romney has a long history of nasty skirmishes. During the Civil War, it change hands between Union and Confederate troops some 56 times. And after the war, sympathizers built this, the first monument in the country to the Confederate dead.

"Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) earned himself one vote in Hampshire County," says Wolford.

Democrats still outnumber Republicans in Romney by a wide margin.

The town supports lots of Democrats for state office. But not for President -- and not President Obama. "I had one man tell me, 'Oh he ended that war, now what are all those soldiers going to do when they come home? They won't have jobs,'" says Dorothy Kengla of the Hamphsire County Democrats.

So many West Virginians dislike President Obama that a convicted felon almost won the Democratic primary. "That was very embarrassing," says Kengla of the Democrats. And Wolford, the Republican, agrees.

Lots of people in Romney agree on something else -- that Washington's broken. "They don't care about the American people anymore," says President Obama hater Dillinger. "We're in a mess. We're in a big mess," agrees Obama supporter Larry Brown.

But they just cannot agree on how to fix it.

Here's another thing people in Romney agree on. If West Virginia was still a battleground state, they might have a better chance of convincing either one of the candidates to stop by.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now &
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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