The Romney campaign said more than 5,700 people attended the event, according to published reports. The rally featured miles of snarled traffic beforehand and scores of attendees taking in the event from outside its chain-link perimeter.
With polls showing both Romney and GOP Senate candidate George Allen flagging in recent weeks, several conservatives in the Shenandoah Valley said they were increasingly nervous about the Republican Party’s chances on Election Day going into Wednesday night.
Come Thursday, things were different.
“I’m energized by last night,” said Harvey Almarode, a retired teacher from nearby Stuarts Draft, Va., who said he was previously “skeptical about how the campaign was going.”
Romney’s combination of aggressively battling Mr. Obama while maintaining a “gentlemanly manner” was “awesome. It really exceeded all my expectations,” he said.
On a night when Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, who was also in attendance, received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, the former governor of Massachusetts used points from the debate to try to drive home long-standing criticisms of Obama.