VIENNA - The chairman of the Republican National Committee will be in town next month in a national campaign tour.
Chairman Michael Steele is traveling the nation in the Fire Pelosi Bus Tour and will be here at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at the state GOP regional party headquarters, 401C Grand Central Ave., Vienna.
"We're really excited about it," said Greg Smith, chairman of the Wood County Republican Party.
Fire Pelosi Tour
It's the only stop so far scheduled by the bus tour in West Virginia, he said. Also, another bus from the state party is tentatively planned to be at the regional headquarters with the Fire Pelosi entourage, Smith said.
Such attention is indicative of how close the campaign is between Republican David McKinley and Democrat Michael Oliverio, for the House of Representatives 1st District, he said. McKinley would be the first Republican in the 1st District since Arch A. Moore Jr. in 1968.
"It shows that this race is winnable," Smith said.
The tour started on Sept. 15 and will include more than 115 cities across America. Its purpose is to influence the voters in November to elect enough Republican candidates for the party to take the majority in the House and Senate and remove Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and Sen. Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.
The appearance coincides with the first of three scheduled debates between Oliverio and McKinley at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Smoot Theatre in Parkersburg. The timing was coincidental, Smith said.
"Supporters from Wood and surrounding counties have been so important to the momentum building for the McKinley campaign and David McKinley is eager to rally the troops prior to the Oct. 19 debate," McKinley spokesman Steve Cohen said. "That evening it will be even more clear that David McKinley is the candidate for Congress who will stand up to the Obama-Pelosi job-killing agenda in Washington."
The event is free and open to the public, although Smith recommends an RSVP by calling 304 699-5794.
Steele has been chairman of the Republican Party since January 2009. A former lieutenant governor of Maryland and the first African American chairman of the party, he got into a leadership dispute with Rush Limbaugh in 2009 when Steele said he was the defacto leader of the Republican Party and the conservative Limbaugh was an entertainer.
Steele was criticized in July when, at a fundraiser in Connecticut, he said the war in Afghanistan was "of Obama's choosing." However, the war and U.S. involvement was ordered by President George W. Bush in October 2001.
He also was the first African American elected to a statewide office in Maryland. He lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006.
After he graduated from the Archbishop Carroll Roman Catholic High School in Washington, D.C., where he was in the Glee Club and participated in drama productions, Steele for prepared to be a priest at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, but left prior to ordination.