Tom McInnis, owner of Iron Horse Auction in Rockingham, is serving as a stand-in delegate at the Republican National Convention going on in Tampa, Fla.
The approach of Hurricane Isaac was thought to delay or postpone the convention, but Republicans pushed on and the hurricane changed its course towards the west.
“We are having a wonderful time,” said McInnis. He said he served as a delegate in 2004 and went to the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“I am watching speeches today,” said McInnis from the convention floor on Tuesday. “I just heard Richard Hudson speak.”
Hudson is challenging incumbent Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell in the 8th District, which includes Richmond County.
“I’m Richard Hudson, I’m running for Congress in North Carolina,” said Hudson from the podium. “In North Carolina, we tell the truth. The truth is, you can’t support open-ended bailouts and giveaways if you want to create jobs. You can’t support Obamacare and say you’re saving Medicare. And you cannot support Barack Obama if you want to stop the spending, stop the waste and stop the assault on our values.
“This election is about real people — people who are suffering under the policies of President Obama and his friends like Larry Kissell,” Hudson continued. “It’s about the woman in Thomasville, North Carolina, who told me she has to support two men at home — her husband who was laid off and her recent college graduate son who can’t find a job. And it’s about the home builder in Monroe, North Carolina, who will take any kind of work just to avoid laying off any more employees. And yes, Mr. President — he did build that business. The people of North Carolina are suffering under President Obama.
“It’s not just time for a change — it’s time for the great American comeback. I give you my word, I will fight every day for what’s right. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about people. It’s about our future. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are right for America. Obama and Biden are just wrong. Thank you. God bless you. God bless America,” said Hudson.
“While Richard Hudson is off playing politics and partying, Larry Kissell is doing what he has always done: putting partisanship aside and putting the people of the 8th District first,” said Chris Schuler, communications director for Kissell For Congress.
McInnis meanwhile has been spotting well-known Republicans like Michelle Bachman and Robyn Hayes of North Carolina. Former presidential candidate Herman Cain spoke Tuesday morning, according to McInnis.
“It was a real treat to hear him,” said McInnis. “He told his story. He’s an American legend. It was really heartwarming.”
McInnis has been a Republican almost since day one. His mother and father were both Democrats and he registered Democrat as well at age 18.
“But the party left us,” said McInnis about his party change soon after registering. “Republicans are about less government, lower taxes, higher work ethic, quality education and owning a home.”
McInnis has to be on alert and up to date on what the delegates are doing in case he has to stand in for one from the 8th Congressional District. There are six delegates there from each congressional district. He said he is the only Richmond County native at the convention.
McInnis said he is looking forward to presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife speak. He said he will return to Richmond County on Friday.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.