Romney set to attend fundraiser in Franklin - WSMV Channel 4

Romney set to attend fundraiser in Franklin

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV/AP) -

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was scheduled to attend a private fundraiser in Franklin on Tuesday.

An invitation obtained by The Tennessean says the event will be at the home of Lee Ann and Orrin Ingram.

Guests must give or raise $10,000 to attend a reception with the former Massachusetts governor and have their pictures made with him. Others can attend a "general reception and program" for $2,500 per person.

Gov. Bill Haslam, Romney's state campaign chairman, is expected to attend the fundraiser, as well as Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville.

Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee in particular, is home to a lot of high dollar political donors.

So while candidates aren't fighting to win votes here, they need the money to help them win the votes in other states that could decide the election.

Earlier Tuesday, Mitt Romney was in Florida - a key battleground state in the race for the White House.

"He doesn't need to worry about campaigning in the state, because he's going to win handily with 55-56 percent of the vote. But he does need money," said Vanderbilt University Professor John Geer.

And Middle Tennessee is one of the top places to do that for both parties.

This is Romney's third fundraiser in Middle Tennessee since last fall, and both First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have made fundraising stops in Nashville this year as well.

Romney didn't win the March primary in Tennessee, and Democrats said it's because he is out of touch with voters.

"I think he's raising money here, but he certainly doesn't have the enthusiasm of Republicans and certainly not middle class Tennesseans," said Chip Forrester, with the Tennessee Democratic Party.

But Tennessee is thought to be solidly Republican, no matter who the candidate is.

"What all republicans have in this state have in common is the desire to beat Barack Obama and that desire is what will make them vote for Mitt Romney come the fall," Greer said.

And Republicans said the enthusiasm is definitely there, but they will still be hard at work making sure Tennessee stays a red state come November.

"We're going to take nothing for granted. We're going to get out the vote, and I believe that at the end of the day we're going to have a really strong effort put forth and elect Mitt Romney for the presidency," said Chris Devaney, with the Tennessee Republican Party.

The presidential race is important to the local political parties for another reason. The top of the ticket matters in helping drive voters and interest to the other state races.

There are several key races in the Tennessee House and Senate as Republicans try to boost their numbers in the legislature.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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