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Hoping to make a pre-emptive strike in the battleground of North Carolina before the Democrats arrive for their national convention this summer, young Republicans from around the country spent part of the weekend in what they called “combat” to take Charlotte for Mitt Romney.
“Combat Charlotte,” which began on Friday, was billed as an opportunity for young leaders from around the country to knock on doors, help identify swing voters and plot ways that Republicans might engage more young adults. ...
To the disappointment of many participants, dozens of young Republicans who had been invited did not show up, including college-age contingents from across the country. One Saturday morning session could not go forward for lack of a quorum.
Matt Hoagland, 27, an executive recruiter and manager of campaigns from Asheville, N.C., was among those who were concerned about the weekend turnout, and what it might portend for the election. “There’s opportunity in the young crowd to have a little more influence,” he said. “But people just don’t do this type of stuff anymore. I wish they did.”
Mr. Hoagland said that he had tried to get young Republicans from his county, Buncombe, to join him on the trip to Charlotte, but that he still ended up alone. “I told them we’d get a discount rate at the hotel and that there would be booze, and it just didn’t work,” he said.
No matter. Mr. Hoagland and the other young Republicans committed to taking back North Carolina made phone calls and fanned out across Charlotte in white vans with clipboards and Romney campaign literature. They had lunches and dinners together, bonded over cocktails and listened to speakers who included local elected officials.