Area Republicans' excitement varies on Mitt Romney visit

Just as the Republican primaries around the country have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for the candidates, the reaction of area Republicans was also mixed two days before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's scheduled visit to Arbutus.

The former Massachusetts governor is expected to visit Maryland March 21, just 11 days before the state's primary on April 3.

The visit is to include a town hall forum at Dewey Lowman Post 109 on Old Sulphur Spring Road at 3:30 p.m., according to Capt. John Spiroff, commander of Wilkens Police Station.

A representative from the post could not be reached for comment.

Spiroff said his criminal intelligence team confirmed the location with the United States Secret Service.

"The Secret Service will have the security for the governor," Spiroff said. "We're supplementing Secret Service by traffic control and crowd control. We're going to be outer perimeter. Secret Service is going to be inner perimeter."

Spiroff said the goal of the police is to facilitate traffic flow and that he does not expect any roads to close because of Romney's visit.

Spiroff anticipated that he would have five cars at the event but added that number could easily change as the police continue to collaborate with Secret Service.

Romney will have a rally in Frederick later in the day, according to a release from state Sen. Joe Getty, a Republican candidate who represents District 5, which includes parts of Baltimore and Carroll counties.

"I think it's dandy," said Harry Korrell, the former president of the Patapsco Valley Republican Club. "I'm glad to have him come."

Korrell, a Navy veteran, said he supports Romney and would attempt to make it to the afternoon appearance.

"I just hope we get a lot of people out there and support him," Korrell said. "He's a gentleman and there are damn few gentlemen left."

Lansdowne resident Joe Hooe, a Republican candidate for state delegate for District 12A in 2008 who lost to Democratic incumbents James Malone and Steve DeBoy, was not as enthused.

Hooe said he would stay "neutral" until the Republican party selects its presidential candidate.

He said the visit by Romney would positively affect the area.

"Any time you have a spotlight that's brought on to one of our communities from a national figure, it can't be a bad thing," Hooe said.

Hooe said he was interested in hearing what Romney and the rest of the Republican candidates have to say about the area but doesn't plan on attending the event.

Al Nalley, the other Republican candidate for state delegate for District 12A in 2008 who lost to Dels. Malone and DeBoy, said he supports Romney rival Newt Gingrich.

But he agreed with Hooe that having a national figure visit Maryland benefits the state.

Nalley, a sales representative for Halethorpe-based BMG Metals, might attend the event if he is in the area when the event starts.

"It gives Maryland some exposure," Nalley said of the event. "I would certainly consider (attending) to see what the gentleman had to say."

Arbutus resident Keith Thornton, who has worked at Little Abner's Liquors, a business about a block away from where Romney will have his meeting, for 10 years said an influx of people could boost business.

That's not the only reason Thornton, a supporter of Ron Paul, said he was pleased about the visit.

"You really don't get a chance to have the top running Republican in the nation come to a small town like ours," Thornton said.

This story has been updated.

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