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Surprise guest to attend GOP oyster roast
County, state candidates invited to Oct. 20 Republican fundraiser




Tickets are printed, the band is booked and the caterers confirmed. But organizers hope the keynote speaker will be up in the air.

A mystery guest arriving by helicopter could drop in on the Wilson County Republican Party’s oyster roast Oct. 20 at the Wilson Industrial Airport.

"Our huge surprise guest speaker will not be announced to the public by design,” Wilson County GOP Chairman Gary Proffitt said. "Unless the game plans change, I will not be notified until that Friday morning” before the Saturday event.

Proffitt wouldn’t drop any hints about the surprise guest’s identity, but he said he’d reveal the speaker’s name the day before the event if his or her attendance has been confirmed.

Republicans are planning a candidate meet-and-greet for their fourth annual oyster roast fundraiser. Governor hopeful Pat McCrory and other Republican state office-seekers have been invited, and organizers are still waiting on candidates to respond.

Proffitt said candidates for nonpartisan judicial offices also were invited.

State Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson and state House candidate Susan Martin will be in attendance, Proffitt said, along with U.S. House hopeful George Holding.

"We urge and welcome the public to attend,” Proffitt said. "They’ll have a great time.”

The oyster roast is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 and will feature music by Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam and catering by Tripp’s Seafood, Parker’s Barbecue, Quince and the Washington Crab & Oyster Co.

The menu includes oysters, shrimp, barbecue pork and Texas beef brisket. Beer and wine also will be available.

Each candidate will have an opportunity to make brief remarks, Proffitt said.

"Once the surprise guest speaker arrives, we’ll allow him or her to speak for as long as he or she wants,” he said.

Admission is $40 per person, and Proffitt said on Thursday that more than 225 of the 500 tickets printed had been sold.

"The public is beginning to respond more so than in the past,” he said.

The event isn’t just for registered Republicans, Proffitt said. Democrats, Libertarians and unaffiliated voters are welcome.

Proffitt said Republicans planned the fundraiser to coincide with early voting, which begins Oct. 18.

"Anybody who’s undecided or not clear, if they hear the candidates speak Saturday night, hopefully they’ll go to the polls Monday morning with that fresh in their minds,” he said.

To purchase tickets, visit the Wilson County GOP headquarters at 2506-B Nash St. or call 265-0058.

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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