Romney to make campaign stop in Ormond Beach; Volusia County GOP chair Joe Stich of New Smyrna Beach thrilled

Mitt RomneyPhoto for NSB News by Joe Raedle /Getty Images /

Mitt Romney campaigns in West Palm Beach earlier this month. He'll be in Ormond Beach Sunday evening for a big campaign rally in advance of the Jan. 31 Republican primary here in the Sunshine State.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Mitt Romney is making a campaign stop in Ormond Beach Sunday and nobody is more thrilled about it than New Smyrna Beach's Joe Stich, Volusia County GOP chairman.

"I think there's a lot of support here for Romney," Stich told NSB News this afternoon in confirming the Republican presidential hopeful's local visit, the day after South Carolina's primary. "It's a positive thing that he's coming here."

Following Saturday's South Carolina primary, Romney's itinerary has him hopping on a plane to Daytona Beach International Airport on Sunday afternoon for the scheduled 6 p.m. rally at the Allstar Building Materials lumberyard in Ormond Beach. This was the site visited by then-Republican nominee John McCain during the 2008 campaign.

Stich credited Daytona Beach Republican Club President Lynda Kroger with making Romney's visit a reality.

"Nobody works harder than her," Stich said, adding her persistence paid off for the party and the voting public.

Stich said he didn't want to predict whether Romney will take South Carolina, known for its staunch conservatism and evangelical base that appears to favor Newt Gingrich, but he did say he believes Romney will emerge as the Republican nominee to take back the White House from President Obama.

"I think eventually he will get the nomination," Stich said of Romney, "because he has a lot of momentum. Its an opportunity for Volusia County to shine as the starting point for the Florida campaign."


Joe Stich"I think eventually he will get the nomination," Stich said of Romney, "because he has a lot of momentum. Its an opportunity for Volusia County to shine as the starting point for the Florida campaign."

The Florida Republican primary is Jan. 31, just 11 days from today, and with the likes of Michelle Bachman, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry bowing out, Romney will get tested in South Carolina by upstart Rick Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul. Florida could very well be the state where Romney knocks out the three remaining challengers.

Kroeger likes Romney's chances, which is why she tried so hard to make it happen.

"I'm very excited about him coming here," said Krueger, also co-chair of the Volusia County Romney campaign. "It is a strategic county for him to win, the first leg of the I-4 corridor."

Kroeger said she met with Romney's advance team to secure a location that was big enough to hold a rally for as many people possible who wanted to see him in person and hear his message directly.

There is no admission and ample parking, but Kroeger suggested people arrive at least an hour ahead of his planned visit. She also said she's been inundated all day long with press inquiries.

"He has a hundred members of the press coming with him so you can imagine how big this is," Krueger said, adding she's dealt with inquiries in the local market from from WESH TV Orlando, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and regarding press staging arrangements.

"I've been getting calls from all over as you can imagine with an event like this," she said.

If you go: directions to the Romney rally

Allstar Building Materials lumberyard, 1361 U.S. 1, Ormond Beach, FL 32174‎

From greater New Smyrna Beach

1. Take SR 44 west to the I-95 ramp heading north. You will go 24.8 miles, about 24 minutes;

2. Take exit 273 for US 1 south and go 0.3 miles;

3. Turn left onto US 1 south, and go 1 mile. 

Editor's Note: The trip should take about 30 minutes. The rally starts at 6 .m. so it is good advicve to arrive at least an hour or more ahead of time to avoid long lines getting in. Parking is free.