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Passion Stirs Romney, Obama Demonstrators on U.S. 19

Whether or not you agree with the message, have you ever passed a roadside rally and wondered what motivates the people? One week before the Nov. 6 General Election, Dunedin Patch went to the corner of Curlew Road and U.S. 19 to meet the mystery rallyer

Many passing drivers honked in support, others gestured crudely. A dozen or so North Pinellas 9/12 Project demonstrators seemed unfazed.

Along with the supportive honks, "we get our fair share of people flipping us off, 'F yous,' and all that," rally organizer Joe Sekula said while holding a "Fire Obama" sign. 

Just days before the Nov. 6 General Election, Sekula led a roadside rally largely in support of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as drivers stuck in Tuesday's rush-hour traffic on U.S. 19 slowly passed. Some demonstrators held signs in support of Democrat Carl Zimmerman.

Pam Bollenbacher of Safety Harbor was among them. She waved at drivers with her free hand for two hours, with a smile on her face.

Although a registered Republican, she stood with activists claiming to be from a non-partisan Meetup group called the North Pinellas 9/12 Project. The group of more than 1,000 members is a local chapter of a national, volunteer, Glenn Beck-inspired movement whose mission is uniting and educating people and communities on principals in the U.S. Constitution. 

"It's important," Bollenbacher said.

Bollenbacher, a full-time medical claims analyst, said it's her first time volunteering for a presidential campaign. She was moved to take action because she felt the dream of a better life for her adult children and young grandchildren was slipping downhill under President Barack Obama's administration.

Bollenbacher said she has knocked on 961 doors since Sept. 17 and has helped convince several registered Democrats to vote Romney in the General Election.

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Ken Dewese, a longtime Clearwater resident, held a homemade pro-Romney campaign sign, with an American flag attached. The wind was so fierce at a previous demonstration that his other American flag snapped off, he said, pointing to the splintered end of a wooden rod still taped to the back of his Romney-Ryan sign.

Dewese felt compelled to stand at the corner of Curlew Road and U.S. 19 because he fears a lot of young people don't understand the Constitution. "We didn't pay attention for a long time," he said.

"You make your donations, but you can't just sit around," Dewese said. "We've got to put the right people in the right positions."

Solitary Support for Obama

A lone President Obama supporter stood across the street from the 9/12 Project's demonstration at the corner of Curlew Road and U.S. 19 with a homemade sign.

Michael James, 32, said he saw the group of Romney-Ryan supporters when he walked out of Circle K and approached them.

He was so incensed after his interaction with the Romney-Ryan supporters that he went home and made his own Obama sign using a permanent marker and the lid of a blue storage container.

"How dare they tell me to get a job," said James, a five-year Palm Harbor resident. "I work two jobs."

He is a cook at The Original Hooters and also distributes fliers at rate of 10 cents a copy, he said.

The 9/12 demonstrators said that James, who has visible tattoos on his neck and arms, was harassing them, so they told him to go to the corner across the street.

James avoided answering when asked what he initially said to the North Pinellas demonstrators. 

"Good for him," one North Pinellas 9/12 Project demonstrator said when they saw him with his sign from across the street.

-Ed Harris- November 02, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Sorry to bring up that pesky thing called facts, but....The group mentioned above has been staking out the northside of Hwy 60 for the last two weeks using tactic's that got the Clearwater police called on them. When they did NOT get the response they were looking for, they started pushing the cross walk button over and over and over which caused traffic to back up to the Veterans Parkway. Needless to say the Police were not very happy nor the drivers who now are waiting in a 1-1/2 long line to get home to their families. A lot of blog talk has been floating around with some business's saying people are not stopping once past the Romney group because now they are very late. Many drivers are re-routing to Tampa Rd. Both sides of this election just don't always seem to think things through. Passion is great, but when misplaced with hateful words or irresponsible acts the passion is muted and forgotten. So while I'm all for the group waving signs I wish they would be more respectful to people just trying to get home to their kids. Right now as I type I just got a call that traffic is yet again backed up to Rocky Point and someone is pressing the walk button over and over.
Cisco November 03, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum Mittmentum
DLC November 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM
What are you trying to say? I cannot figure out your comment. It looks like you may be having a health issue! If you need help call 911 please. We would not want to lose such a gifted writer from this column.
-Ed Harris- November 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM
DLC lol too funny!
Christina Walters November 06, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I have been wondering the same...

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