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GOP heavyweights barnstorm in Brooksville
Gov. Bush, U.S. Senate candidate Mel Martinez and U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite galvanize the crowd at party headquarters.
By MARY SPICUZZA
Published November 2, 2004
BROOKSVILLE - They came not to appeal to undecided voters but to rally Republican foot soldiers.
Gov. Jeb Bush, his brother Marvin Bush, Senate candidate Mel Martinez and Carole Jean Jordan, chairwoman for Florida's Republican Party, joined U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite at the party's Hernando County headquarters in Brooksville to thank their supporters and to tell them to keep working to re-elect President Bush.
"I appreciate the president's support of Florida, and I know you do," the governor said. "And I know that will give you a little added benefit to be able to work as hard as you can between now and when the polls close at 7 o'clock."
Brooksville was just one stop in a statewide scramble to win support for President Bush and the rest of the GOP candidates on the ballot. The speaking tour included Monday events in Orlando, Panama City, Port Charlotte and Miami.
The event was also part of the Republican Party of Hernando County's final 72-hour get-out-the-vote effort before today's election. The campaign has included door-to-door precinct walks, phone calls and even rides to the polls for Republican voters.
Speakers addressed national security, terrorism, jobs, education and senior issues - especially Social Security and prescription drugs.
"There are a lot of seniors in Hernando County, and a lot of politicians come at the end of a campaign making promises," Gov. Bush said of battles over Medicare prescription drug plans.
"The president, on the other hand, got something done that will benefit Floridians for a long time to come."
Those in the crowd, which was packed into the party's E Liberty Street office, said they came to show their support while getting motivated for Election Day.
"I think that I was very encouraged that they're encouraging people to stay the course," said Jane Richardson, a 52-year-old Spring Hill resident.
Ana Trinque, chairwoman of Hernando's Republican Executive Committee, said the county's party members plan to keep working until the polls close today. She said more than 300 volunteers walked precincts over the weekend.
Mia Rushing, 40, said she and her daughter, Holly, decided to work as election officials to help prevent "the problems we had in the last election."
Rushing, who was wearing a Bush-Cheney sticker, said she did not wear it into the polling location, where she had been helping to open absentee ballots.
After, Marvin Bush, the president's younger brother, talked with local Republicans and signed autographs. Martinez talked with the press about his campaign, and Gov. Bush answered questions about vote counting.
"We won't relive 2000," he said. "I can't say the Democrats won't sue."