BY LORAINE ANDERSON
TRAVERSE CITY – About 550 Republican Party faithful packed into the lower meeting room of the Park Place Hotel to catch and cheer Ann Romney’s hastily planned “get out the vote” pitch for her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The line inside the city landmark started forming Monday about 11:30 a.m. Linda Taylor and her mother, Doris Regnier, both retired teachers from Cadillac, were among the first to arrive.
“I really admire Mrs. Romney,” said Taylor, who identified herself as “a conservative teacher.”
By 1 p.m., throngs of people stretched from the entrance to the hotel’s restaurant and out the main door.
“We had to turn 50-to-100 people away,” said John Selleck, an aide with the Mitt Romney campaign.
The cheering and chants of “Go Mitt,” and other slogans started well before Romney appeared, led by state party chairman Bobby Schostak and co-chair Sharon Wise, of Traverse City.
“I’m just your warm-up act,” Schostak said.
Mrs. Romney did not come alone. State Attorney General Bill Schuette and U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek from northern Michigan’s 1st Congressional District tagged along.
“I love Michigan,” Romney told the crowd. “I’m from Michigan. I grew up in Manistee, and I won’t be happy unless we win in Michigan. What I know about Mitt is that he won’t fail and he’s going to do the right thing.”
Traverse City was her first campaign stop for the day. The call to the local GOP came about 8:15 p.m. Sunday, said Linda Witt, secretary of the Grand Traverse Republican Executive Committee.
“We were very surprised, but we were hoping,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
From Traverse City, Romney traveled to Grand Rapids for a similar rally. She also attended the Detroit Tigers-San Francisco Giants final World Series game in Detroit.