LIMA — The line for tickets to a presidential campaign visit stretched down the block and around the corner Wednesday morning.
The tickets were made available beginning at 10 a.m. and it took folks upwards of an hour to receive theirs, during that first enthusiastic swell.
By 3 p.m., the Lima campaign office for President Barack Obama was out of tickets for the anticipated Friday visit and tickets remained only at the Findlay office, 1041 N. Main St., and Wapakoneta office, 101 W. Auglaize St.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Lima Senior High School for the rally with the president.
The interest was understandable: The last time a sitting Democratic president visited Lima was Harry Truman’s 1948 whistle-stop train visit.
“Oh, it’s just beautiful,” said Allen County Democratic Party Chair Beverly McCoy, who seemed to be floating Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve been flooded with people at both Lima offices, and they’re all terribly excited.”
Volunteers staffing the ticket distribution asked folks if they came through if they had voted. If the answer was no, they were given a sample ballot and pointed north a block to the Allen County Board of Elections and encouraged to early vote. Many people chose to do just that Wednesday morning.
The Lima field office for the president’s re-election campaign opened in the spring, and volunteers have been working hard ever since then, McCoy said.
“I don’t know what else could have given such a shot in the arm like having him come here. It’s like, ‘Wow!’ And, I get to shake his hand Friday,” McCoy said. “I think he’s coming because he’s seen all the hard work people here are doing. They have gone to work for him.”
McCoy said she was proud to serve as an Ohio delegate in the 2008 presidential election and has heard Obama speak. She said Lima is in for a treat.
“Even though you’re in a room full of thousands of people, you feel like he’s talking to you,” McCoy said. “You leave very motivated by that.”
Lima schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman said the Obama campaign is setting up while trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. The campaign is renting the space from the district. It made tickets available to seniors at the high school who wanted to attend the event, Ackerman said.
In 2008, Obama attended a church service in Lima. While it wasn’t publicly announced, word spread quickly and a supportive crowd greeted him as he left St. Luke Lutheran Church. Vice President Joe Biden also campaigned on Obama’s behalf, speaking at a rally at Lima Senior High School and stopping by the downtown Kewpee.
Hurricane Sandy briefly froze the presidential campaign. However, Obama will return to political travel on Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado, The Associated Press reported. Obama toured storm-ravaged New Jersey with Republican Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday, while Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida.