SOMERS, N.Y. – People came to Somers from South Salem, North Salem, Yorktown, Bedford and Chappaqua to join local residents at Somerfield’s to watch the first of the four presidential debates. The evening was sponsored by the Republican Committees of Northern Westchester.
“It’s going to be a close race,” said Luke Vander Linden, vice chair of the Bedford Republican Committee. “It’ll come down to a few states and a true desire to fix a problem that has two diametrically opposing views. Romney understands the economy as a businessman and he believes that government is not the solution.”
“The cost of doing business has taken away all my profit,” said North Salem’s Jack Gress. “I can’t afford to pay health insurance. I was retired and now at 70 I had to go back to work full time.”
“There are quite a few people in this room who own small businesses,” said Serafina Mastro, chair of the Yorktown Republican Committee. “That’s the glue to the American way.”
Howard Hellwinkel of North Salem is also a small business owner. “I don’t think it’ll be a very close race,” he said. “The polling has been heavily skewed towards the Democrats. As the skewing is removed, it’ll shift toward Romney.”
“A close race?” said Gress. “You’re going to see a Reagan landslide. I hope Romney comes out all guns and lays it into Obama.”
Charlie Banks of Chappaqua does think it will be a close race. “But Romney needs to be more aggressive,” he said. “He’s trying to be a nice guy. He’s said that Obama is in over his head, but he hasn’t said that Obama is a failure and has to go. Neither one has closed the deal yet. If Obama hasn’t done it by now, I don’t think he will.”
“Romney has been holding his aggressiveness to the last quarter of the game, which is now,” said Hellwinkel.
Banks is enthusiastic about Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan. So is the event’s organizer, Luke Vander Linden. “He’s part of the Republican intelligencia,” he said. “He’s able to articulate when he’s being attacked.”
The next Republican Committee's debate party will be take place when the vice presidential candidates, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan, go at it on Thursday, Oct. 11. The party will be at the Horse & Hound, 94 Spring St., South Salem. The debate starts at 9 p.m. The party starts shortly before that. There will be a cash bar and snacks.