Bumper stickers for Bush/Cheney 2004, Matt Blunt and Kenny Hulshof adorned a cluster of cars in the parking lot of Rock Bridge Shopping Center Tuesday afternoon as Republicans gathered inside a storefront to open the Boone County Republican Headquarters.
The Boone County Republican Central Committee organizes a central headquarters every four years for the presidential election. This year’s location at Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard was selected in late July.
“I like the fact there’s ample parking space,” said Brad Barondeau, chairman of Boone County Republican Central Committee. “We also looked at locations on Business Loop, Vandiver, and I-70 Drive Southeast.”
In 2000, the headquarters was in Biscayne Mall, where Famous Barr is now located. Republican Susan DiPietre managed that office and was asked to manage this year’s office as well.
“I expected the opening to be big,” DiPietre said. “People have been asking for months when we were going to open.”
Yard signs were stacked up against the wall as people filtered in wearing polos with candidates’ names, sweaters with the Republican party’s elephant mascot and red, white and blue T-shirts.
“It’s a place to promote the national ticket and the local candidates,” said Ernie Lee, Boone County coordinator of the Bush/Cheney campaign.
The office will have an inventory of bumper stickers, yard signs and candidate information. There will also be organized candidate nights on Monday evenings.
“Candidates will come in and speak to anyone that wants to attend,” Lee said.
There are four phone lines that will be used as campaigning tools and are open to any Republican candidates that need them.
“I think most candidates have their own phones, but this space is also available for them,” DiPietre said. “I want to duplicate all the positive and good things we did in 2000 and do it again.”
The headquarters is furnished by funds raised by the Boone County Central Committee, Columbia Pachyderms and Boone County Republican Women. The office will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday
“We’ll progressively add more hours and by Labor Day, be in full force,” DiPietre said.
Columbia’s Democratic headquarters is located at 916 E. Walnut St.