About 20 Ottawa County Republican loyalists were in attendance Saturday night among more than 1,000 who attended the Ohio 5th District Congressional Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner in the Student Union Ballroom at Bowling Green State University.
The drawing card was obvious. With Ohio in the crosshairs with the March 6 primary drawing close, the event drew not one, but two of the major Republican Presidential candidates: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Both received a warm welcome from the attendees, most from the 5th Congressional District represented by Bob Latta.
Among the attendees from Ottawa County were newly elected Republican Chairwoman Carolyn Adams and her husband Dex, along with former chairman Terry Lowe and his wife Susan. The only elected officials from Ottawa County in attendance were Municipal Court Judge Fritz Hany with his wife Susan as well as Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, a part-time resident who is running for re-election.
A third candidate, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who will be running against Sherrod Brown for the U.S. Senate in November, also spoke. Mandel is a 34-year-old Marine veteran who did two tours in Iraq. He wowed the crowd at Bowling Green with his determination on how he intends to win on Nov. 6.
The keynote speaker of the evening was Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, an advocacy group he founded in 1985 at the request of President Ronald Reagan. He told the crowd that winning the U.S. Senate was “doable” since 23 seats currently held by Democrats were up in November 2012. He suggested it might even happen that Republicans could win a “filibuster-proof” 60 seats if everything fell right. He also noted that winning the Senate and keeping control of the House of Representatives was more important than winning the White House. Norquist also serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.