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The Gazette KCRG
Posted January 3, 2012
Some at Erskine caucus bring ‘anti-Romney’ sentiment

More than 250 people crowded into the gym at Erskine Elementary, 600 36th St. SE, for the Republican caucus Tuesday night.

The caucus was delayed almost 30 minutes as more chairs and benches were carried in to accommodate the crowd.

Some in attendance were simply observing.

Ryan Brown, 19, a Cedar Rapids native home on break from a film studio internship in New York, said he and his friends were “the anti-Romney establishment.”

“We’re not here to support a candidate,” Brown said. “We’re here to oppose a candidate.”

Former Cedar Rapids streets commissioner Don Thomas gave an impassioned speech for Mitt Romney.

“His plan is bold, sweeping and detailed,” Thomas said. “He will repeal Obamacare because it’s bad law and bad policy.”

Shouts of “Vote for Mitt” rang out in the crowd as Thomas was cut off when his time expired.

Otherwise, those in attendance, ranging from young children to a mostly older group, were all business, packing up quickly once the balloting finished.

Gene Smith, 74, of Cedar Rapids, said he came with his mind set for Rick Santorum.

“I was a Newt man for awhile,” Smith said. “(Santorum) doesn’t have any baggage.”

Colleen Andrews, 37, of Cedar Rapids, was at the other end of the spectrum, waiting until she had heard speakers for all the candidates before making up her mind.

“I’m still undecided,” said the stay-at-home mother of three, with her blank ballot in hand.

Finally, she jotted down a name.

“I pick Romney,” she said, “because he has executive experience. I think he’s the only one who can beat Obama.”

Final tallies of the 211 registered Republicans showed Mitt Romney with 80 votes; Rick Santorum, 48; Ron Paul, 41; Newt Gingrich, 22; Rick Perry, 12; Jon Huntsman, 7 and Michele Bachmann, 1.

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