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Political rally in Longview features Neal McCoy performance

By Reese Gordon
Feb. 16, 2014 at 11 p.m.

Peanuts were cracking and boots were stomping Sunday at a Longview rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

More than 1,000 people attended the event at Maude Cobb Convention Center - which featured a performance by Longview resident and country music singer Neal McCoy.

Karl Rove, former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, delivered a short speech to introduce Cornyn.

With a large American flag as a backdrop, McCoy led the crowd in a rendition of "the Star-Spangled Banner."

Rick Hulburt, a Hallsville resident, said he and his wife, Mary, decided to attend the event because they wanted to hear what Cornyn has to say.

"The best way to educate yourself is to come and hear the issues," she said.

Hulburt said he thinks the Republican Party has been divided with the tea party gaining strength.

"The Republicans need to work toward middle ground," Hulburt said. " I think the Democratic Party is a little more unified. The conservatives are trying to go back to the grassroots and I think politics have gotten so liberal. The tea party has gone back to a more conservative approach."

McCoy introduced Rove and Cornyn, with both men receiving standing ovations from the crowd.

"I'm thinking of having Karl manage my campaign for PTA," McCoy joked.

Mary Hulburt said hearing Rove speak was something she had looked forward to.

"He knows how to see both sides of an issue," she said.

Rove told the crowd he believes John Cornyn is the right man for the U.S. Senate.

"Don't let anything stop you from voting for this man," he said. "His colleagues like him a lot and respect him enormously. We need a new leader to rein in the president for the remaining three years of his presidency, and that man is our senator from Texas, John Cornyn."

Rove said he thinks President Obama has been ignoring the American people and the Constitution, remarks that received spirited applause from the crowd.

Cornyn told the audience he wants voters to be involved in self government.

"The responsibility of that is we can't be spectators," he said. "I think this 2014 election will be one of most important in our lifetime. There's nothing I want more than to be back in the fight in Washington and try to get our great nation back on track."

Longview resident Rita Mays said she decided to attend the rally at the last minute and came away impressed by the senator's remarks.

"The whole event was uplifting, entertaining and inspirational," she said. "I didn't know much about Cornyn beforehand but I feel like I can trust him. I can be more supportive of him after hearing what he had to say. I'm an old-fashioned American, and I feel like we have been shoved in a corner."

Longview resident Norman Hannigan said he thought it was "incredible that they could get this many people together on a Sunday afternoon."

Former Longview High School student and standout baseball player Clay "Tato" Stanley was honored Sunday for his continued perseverance in recovering from a 2012 snowboarding accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

The crowd stood and cheered for Stanley, who is now walking with support from a walking brace, and whose parents thanked Cornyn for his help.



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