AVON LAKE, Ohio – As the East Coast prepared for Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday turned his victory offices in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia into collection centers for storm-relief supplies. His campaign has also ceased fundraising e-mails to many of the states in the path of the storm.
The record-breaking storm, which threatened on Monday to do serious damage throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, threw a wrench into the final week of campaigning for both presidential candidates. President Obama cancelled an appearance at a rally in Orlando on Monday afternoon to return to the White House to monitor storm-response efforts. The Republican’s campaign cancelled events scheduled Monday night for Romney in Wisconsin and for running-mate Paul Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Florida.
The Romney campaign also cancelled a scheduled rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday and three events in Virginia.
“Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm’s way, said spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.
At a rally Monday morning at a high school in Avon Lake, Ohio, Romney told an estimated 2,500 people, “A lot of people are enduring some very difficult times and our hearts and our prayers go to them as we think about how tough it’s going to be there. … We’ve faced these kind of challenges before and as we have, it’s interesting to see Americans come together, and this looks like another time when we need come together all across the country, even here in Ohio, and make sure that we give of our support to the people who need it.”
Romney has been in touch with Republican Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia about their storm preparations. The candidate also sent a message to states in the path of the storm asking residents to be safe and to look out for their neighbors, and encouraging support for local Red Cross organizations. He also asked his supporters to bring their Romney-Ryan yard signs indoors.
“For safety's sake, as you and your family prepare for the storm, please be sure to bring any yard signs inside,” Romney wrote in the message. “In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property.”