Headquarters volunteers are 'born and bred' Republicans

By Rozella Hardin
star staff

  Barbara McElroy and Ella Ruth Perry take their politics seriously, and try to stay informed so they can answer questions that callers to the local Republican headquarters might have.
  "Some days are busier than others," said McElroy after providing information to a caller who had not received a voter registration card. "On some questions, we just have to refer them to the Election Commission office, and hope their problems can be solved there," she added.
  McElroy said she had been a Republican her whole 71 years. "I guess because my ancestors in Johnson City were Republicans," she joked. However, when she gets serious about this year's presidential campaign, her argument for George W. Bush is intense. "I like everything about George Bush, and I like his wife. Could you imagine what Kerry's wife would do to the White House staff if she were elected," McElroy cattily asked?
  She noted that her husband when in the Air Force was attached to President Eisenhower's plane in an informal capacity. "Eisenhower was the first president I voted for. We both voted for him the second time he ran," McElroy said.
  "A lot of the calls we get are on voting procedures and questions on registration, as to how long you have to live here before you can vote, etc.," she said.
  Ella Ruth Perry, who on this particular day was working with McElroy, said she was a "born and bred Republican." She thinks Bush's strong points are his handling of the war on terrorism. "He strikes me as someone very much in charge, someone sure of himself, and is set on protecting this country. I feel safe with him in charge," Perry reasoned.
  Most of the people who stop in at the Republican headquarters on Elk Avenue are Republicans, many of whom are very partisan, such as the Johnson City contractor who came by to get a Bush-Cheney yard sign. He had no kind words for Kerry and Edwards. "We'll be in a mess if Kerry gets elected. He doesn't know what he stands for," the man mused.
  Agreeing with him was Perry, who said she got ill when she thought about "Democrat liberals."
  Working on a sign at headquarters was a first-time voter, Stephanie Cornett, a student at Northeast State. And, as a young Republican, she cast her "first" vote for George W. Bush. "I like his moral values, and he doesn't blow with the wind. He doesn't budge," she said.
  The Republicans are planning an Election Night Party on Tuesday evening at headquarters.
  And, with all voters at headquarters in George Bush's corner, about the only controversy among local Republicans was whether to use "squeeze" mustard for hotdogs at the Election Night Party. "That's about the gist of it," said Cornett, who attended the latest meeting of the GOP. "Looks like Jerome (Cochran) gets the job of cutting the onions since he wasn't there," she added.