The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Election news

March 7, 2012

Grassroot supporters come out for Paul

JEFFERSON —  Ron Paul supporters in Ashtabula County demonstrated the grassroots nature of the Republican’s campaign by braving the cold and pushing the envelope on primary election day.

A truck with a large Ron Paul sign on it was parked in the lot at Kingsville Baptist Church, a polling location, on Tuesday morning. County election officials were called to the site and asked to measure the distance from the sign to the polling place inside the church to make sure it was more than 100 feet away as required by law.

“Our person who paced it off felt that it was less than 100 feet,” said Duane Feher, director of the Ashtabula County Board of Elections. He said that the owner, who had abandoned the truck, was tracked down and asked to remove it from the parking lot, which he did.

At the northeast corner of North Chestnut and East Jefferson streets in Jefferson, Rich Trask and Rob Spencer tried to stay warm while supporting a large Ron Paul sign that doubled as a windbreak.

The volunteers set up shop at the corner around 10 a.m. and, within the first hour, had garnered the beeps and thumbs-up of about a dozen passersby. Some even took the time to stop and talk to the supporters.

Trask and Spencer said they planned to spend a couple of hours at the Jefferson site, take a break and move to another location later in the day.

“We’re just out supporting the candidate Ron Paul. We think he has not received the coverage he deserves,” said Trask, organizer of the Ashtabula County Ron Paul Meetup group.

Trask also supported Paul in the 2008 run for the White House. He said Paul’s message has been consistent and many of his predictions about the demise of the nation have been fulfilled in the recent recession.

“There are a lot of big issues, such as monetary policy, that has brought him to the attention of the American people,” Trask said.

The Paul campaign is built from the bottom up, depending upon volunteers working at the grassroots level rather than paid, professional staff.

“We have people who have been out canvassing door to door,” Trask said.

Robert King of Geneva is an alternate delegate for Paul. He said there are probably 40 volunteers in Ashtabula County who have volunteered with the campaign, but the number could be higher because it’s possible to volunteer through the Internet.

That’s what Spencer did when he registered to call voters through an Internet connection. He talked to voters in several states where primaries were upcoming.

“I probably made about 100 calls,” Spencer said. “It was actually fun. A few of the people asked why I was supporting him and I had some key points (on the computer screen) that I could follow for those who are undecided.”

King said Paul came in third place in a straw poll conducted at the Lincoln Dinner, an annual event for the Ashtabula County Republican Party. Paul got 21 percent of the vote; Romney took 32 percent. As to Paul’s performance in Ohio’s primary, King said he’d like to see him capture at least 20 percent of the vote. King anticipated even greater support in the 14th Congressional District because of the large grassroots effort that has been going on here since Paul’s 2008 candidacy.

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