GOPs gather to back Bush

Rep. Anna Crook R-Clovis speaks to a group of Bush-Cheney supporters during a meeting Thursday in Clovis. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth

By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer

A Curry County grassroots organization touting the Bush/Cheney campaign held its first meeting Thursday night and featured an address from a state representative.

Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, spoke at a local restaurant to 15 area residents involved in the Curry County Bush/Cheney Re-election Campaign.

“I think we are in exciting times and it is going to be great to put New Mexico in the Bush corner this time,” Crook said. “We came so close last time.”

For the first time in Curry County’s 95-year history, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats, the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Web site showed recently. Statewide in 2000, Gore defeated Bush by less than 400 votes to grab the state’s five electoral votes.

Mindy McLaughlin, a field representative for the Bush/Cheney campaign, held an organizational training session for those on hand.

Jeff Naggs, chairman of the volunteer organization, said there was no grassroots operation in the county for the 2000 election. He said the group is not involved with fundraising, only support gathering.

“It’s neighbors telling neighbors to vote,” Naggs said. “It will be a long campaign and we will win the county and I like to think we will win the state.”

Naggs said he has never been actively involved in politics but the need to re-elect President Bush led him to direct the operation.

Each polling precinct has a captain to recruit Bush/Cheney supporters assigned to the precinct. Clovis resident Larry Erwin, a friend of Naggs, said he had no previous involvement in campaigning but was asked him to be a captain.

“I have been always been very conservative,” Erwin said. “I think Curry County will vote for Bush, but do we have enough votes out here to carry over some of the other counties that won’t?”

Naggs said the group plans to be present at various community events from now until the November vote. He said group members are often funneled from the official George Bush Web site to the local effort.

Crook said Curry County is a conservative community filled with Bush supporters.

“With all your hard work and working together we are going to have Bush/Cheney in office,” she said.