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Locals Watch As Romney Donors Flood Park City

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Park City, Utah was awash this past weekend with the GOP elite. They assembled at the exclusive Deer Valley Resort to learn about the campaign's plans for a Republican win in November from the man himself, Mitt Romney. The Romney Victory Leadership Retreat included high dollar donors and big-name speakers like Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and John McCain, plus several potential running mates for the presumed nominee. All of the events were closed to the media, but Terry Gildea from member station KUER made the trip anyway and sent us this postcard on what locals made of the event.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: I'm standing outside the Chateau at Silver Lake right across the street from the Stein Erickson Lodge here in Deer Valley, Utah, and many of the Romney retreat attendees are getting on buses for a big dinner event. Approaching many of them, they're not interested in talking to the media. And that didn't change, even after trying to talk to more than 25 donors. But there was a certain excitement running through this group as they enjoyed a retreat that included a cookout at Utah's Olympic Park and extraordinary access to Romney himself.

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GILDEA: Park City is best known as the home of the Sundance Film Festival. In the deep red state of Utah, this resort town is politically purple. On Sundays, Main Street closes down for a festival called Park Silly. Chris Sontag and his wife are vendors there. He was happy to see Republicans gathering and hopes Romney can find ways to help small businesses like his own.

CHRIS SONTAG: You know, I'm looking at who I think is going to do the best to help unlock our economy and waiting to hear ideas on both sides, and I, you know, I'm holding that decision until the last moment, and whoever I think can do the best job is the one I'm going to be pulling the lever for.

GILDEA: Laurel Greeves has lived in Park City for more than nine years and she wasn't thrilled to have Republicans descend on her community, but she wasn't surprised.

LAUREL GREEVES: I think the Republican Party is by and large the party of the rich and this is where the rich gather and so it makes sense that they're here. I personally don't believe that they represent the values of the general American public.

GILDEA: Park City resident Chad McCormick wishes Mitt Romney and President Obama weren't the only choices.

CHAD MCCORMICK: I do think we need to change course. I don't know that Romney is the solution though. I personally think Ron Paul is a better guy than both of those.

GILDEA: Tomorrow, Utah will host the final presidential primary. Romney already has the nomination locked up, but Republicans in the state are expected to give him a big victory. For NPR News, I'm Terry Gildea in Park City, Utah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Terry Gildea comes to KUER from San Antonio where he spent four years as a reporter and host at Texas Public Radio. While at KSTX, he created, produced and hosted the station's first local talk show, The Source. He covered San Antonio's military community for the station and for NPR's Impact of War Project. Terry's features on wounded warriors, families on the home front and veterans navigating life after war have aired on Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and All Things Considered. His half-hour radio documentary exploring the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center was honored by the Houston Press and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Prior to his position in San Antonio, Terry covered Congress for two years with Capitol News Connection and Public Radio International . He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Washington and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Terry enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons, fixing bicycles and rooting for his hometown Seattle Mariners.
Terry Gildea
Terry Gildea comes to KUER from San Antonio where he spent four years as a reporter and host at Texas Public Radio. While at KSTX, he created, produced and hosted the station's first local talk show, The Source. He covered San Antonio's military community for the station and for NPR's Impact of War Project. Terry's features on wounded warriors, families on the home front and veterans navigating life after war have aired on Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and All Things Considered. His half-hour radio documentary exploring the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center was honored by the Houston Press Club and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Prior to his position in San Antonio, Terry covered Congress for two years with Capitol News Connection and Public Radio International . He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Washington and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Terry enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons, fixing bicycles and rooting for his hometown Seattle Mariners.

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