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Republicans rally, hope for victories

October 27, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

People at the Washington County Republican Family Rally on Tuesday evening said they hoped the event would foreshadow victory parties for President Bush, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and state Sen. Edward "E. J." Pipkin exactly seven days later.

Organizers said they just hoped the event was enough to recharge the proverbial batteries of its volunteers for the final push toward party victories on Election Day.

About 300 people attended the Washington County Republican Central Committee's family rally at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center. While adults lined up for food and drink and listened to speeches, children waited for their chance to punch an inflatable "Knock out (Sen. John) Kerry" toy that featured the Democratic hopeful sporting boxing shorts, gloves and a frightened facial expression.

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Central committee member Bob Sweeney said, although nearly everyone in attendance was already supporting the party's candidates, such an event was crucial to energize the volunteers in the campaign's final days. He said it is the volunteers who will be key to the election by making sure the faithful party base votes and by trying to sway those who are still undecided.

"We've gotta make that last push," Sweeney said. "The last 72 hours is the most important part of the election."

Many who attended said they believed the event was good for boosting morale of Bush/Cheney campaign supporters late in the campaign.

"You have to think about it like a pep rally in high school, like when South (Hagerstown High School) plays North," said Marie Ebersole, of Hagerstown. "This is kind of our big pep rally for the president."

Bartlett and Alisa Pipkin, wife of E. J. Pipkin, spoke briefly, stressing the importance of having GOP representatives in both the Congress and the U.S. Senate to help the president through four more years.

"It's time President Bush had some more help in the state of Maryland," Pipkin said. "We're right around the corner. We should be helping him."

Pipkin said her husband, whose birthday is Nov. 1, and son Carter Pipkin, whose birthday is Nov. 2, hope to be celebrating getting a year older and ending the long U.S. Senate run of Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

"His (Carter's) birthday wish is to get his dad elected," she said.

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