Random Tips for Attending a 2012 Presidential Campaign Rally

Will You Attend a Presidential Campaign Rally this Year?
Will You Attend a Presidential Campaign Rally this Year?

It’s an election year and President Obama and Mitt Romney have hit the campaign trail hard. Chances are, they’ll be visiting a town near you and no matter what your political affiliation, attending a presidential rally and meeting the current or next president of the United States is pretty exciting. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty patriotic. If it’s your first time attending a presidential campaign rally following are a few tips I picked up during the 2008 presidential race.

Sue Gibbs Shows Off Her Hat during Rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum, Sarasota, Fla., Jan. 29, 2012
Sue Gibbs Shows Off Her Hat during Rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum, Sarasota, Fla., Jan. 29, 2012

How Do I Know When President Obama or Mitt Romney Will be Visiting My Town?
One of the most frustrating things during the 2008 presidential race was finding out when either Obama or McCain were visiting the area. I was willing to travel up to four hours yet in some cases, I wouldn’t learn about an event until either late the day prior or the next day. Social media accounts for each of the candidates didn’t include information about rallies. What was the deal?

Perhaps this is done for security purposes but for someone interested in hearing and possibly meeting the candidates, this wasn’t enough time to rearrange my work schedule.

That was four years ago. Today, it seems as though the Democratic and Republican parties understand the advancements and importance of technology and social media (see the end of this post). Visit the websites of each candidate (President Obama and Mitt Romney) and sign up to receive notifications of upcoming rallies.

Yeah, you’ll probably be flooded with campaign donation requests in the form of invites to celebrity-hosted dinners or a day with the candidate, but that’s easily fixed with the push of the delete button.

Gov. Sarah Palin, Oct. 26, 2008, Tampa, Fla.
Gov. Sarah Palin Campaigning in Tampa, Fla., Oct. 26, 2008

I Know When There Will Be a Presidential Campaign Rally, Now What?
Whether you learned about a rally through a news broadcast, newspaper article, email or through social media, follow the instructions for registering to attend the event. Most likely it’s a free rally yet many request an RSVP. But beware. As I learned in 2008, it didn’t matter that I had tickets for the rally featuring Gov. Sarah Palin in Fort Myers. I was turned away with a ticket in hand. Which means…

Arrive Early to the Rally!
Speaking from personal experience, if a rally begins at 2 p.m., do not show up at 1:30 p.m. expecting to get in. Arrive early. During the 2008 race I stood in line for four hours to hear Sarah Palin (yes, FOUR HOURS) in Tampa and many others were ahead of me. A couple of weeks later I waited three hours to hear Hillary Clinton campaign for Obama in Winter Park, Fla. I ended up with front-row positioning and met some really great people.

Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned in Winter Park, Fla., on Sat., Nov. 1, for Barack Obama.
Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned for Barack Obama, Winter Park, Fla., Nov. 1, 2008

Dress Comfortably and for the Elements
If you’re planning on waiting in line for four hours or any duration, be sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. If you’ll be standing out in the sun, be sure to bring along a hat and sunglasses along with sunscreen and possibly insect repellent. Also bring along water and snacks. If permissible, bring your own chair or blanket to sit on. Use common sense and dress for the elements.

"Rock the Vest Button" - Supporting Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum
"Rock the Vest Button" - Supporting Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum, Jan. 28, 2012

Other Essentials to Bring Along to a Presidential Campaign Rally
Bring your questions! Become familiar with the issues, listen to the presidential candidates and if the opportunity presents itself, ask a question of President Obama or Mitt Romney.

Bring your respect. No matter what your political alliance, be courteous and respectful of the candidate and other attendees.

If it’s important to you, be sure your camera batteries are charged and bring along a Sharpie marker in case you’re close enough to ask for an autograph. Having something for the candidate to sign is useful, too. I had Gov. Palin sign the rally ticket.

Political button vendors are a plenty (you’ll see the same vendors selling different pins depending on the candidate speaking). Bring along your small bills if you want to pick up a piece of political memorabilia.

Gov. Bill Richardson Campaigning for Obama in Port Charlotte, Fla., Oct. 21, 2008
Gov. Bill Richardson Campaigning for Obama in Port Charlotte, Fla., Oct. 21, 2008

Know the Candidate’s Code
If you’re social media savvy, find out if the specific presidential rally has a designated Twitter or Instagram hashtag and use these in your Tweets and Instagram uploads. Your followers and others interested in the presidential campaigns will appreciate the information you’re sharing in real-time.

Below are some social media channels I found for Obama and Romney. These are great resources for candidate events, too.
Since I live in Florida, I included the Obama for America Florida account and couldn’t find a Florida-specific one for Romney. Do you have other social media channels for the candidates?

President Obama

Twitter Hashtags: #Obama2012 and #Obama
Twitter.com/OFA_FL (Twitter: Obama for America – FL)
Additional social media channels for President Obama can be found on the bottom of the campaign website.

Mitt Romney

Twitter Hashtag: #Romney

I wasn’t able to see Obama when he campaigned in 2008 (although I attended his inauguration!) and I have yet to see Romney. Since Florida is a swing state, I imagine the campaigning will be active. My goal in 2012 is to attend rallies for both candidates. Are you planning on attending any presidential rallies this year?



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

2 thoughts on “Random Tips for Attending a 2012 Presidential Campaign Rally

  1. Thank you for your tips and the URLs. I want to attend a rally and have found it very difficult to find information in advance.

Comments are closed.

An ICAST attendee poses for a photo with Dr. Guy Harvey, Orlando, Fla., July 2021.
Cool Stuff Others are Doing Featured Florida Fun Nature Travel

Catching Up with Renaissance Man Guy Harvey

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown provided opportunities of productivity. For some, it was seeing how many wine bottles they could empty. For others, it was converting their creativity into new opportunities. Renaissance man Dr. Guy Harvey chose the latter.

Continue Reading
Cool Stuff Others are Doing Featured Nature Travel

Travel to New York: Buffalo’s Beautiful Gardens

Here’s another reason to travel to New York: Buffalo’s beautiful gardens. View them through America’s largest garden walk, u-pick farms, public art, and the botanical gardens.

Continue Reading
Legendary German Singer Herbert Gronemeyer in Berlin, Germany.
Cool Stuff Others are Doing Travel Resources

Music is a Global Connector: New Research Lists USA at Top of Global Influential Music Index

Music is a global connector and it’s part of the travel experience. New research released by medimops reveals USA is at the top of the Global Influential Music Index.

Continue Reading