Three months after a fire destroyed his truck, Mitt Romney’s biggest fan is back on the road
LIMA, Ohio — Jim Wilson, who can make a reasonable claim to be Mitt Romney’s most ardent fan, is back.
Three months after a mysterious fire destroyed the truck covered with Romney signs and American flags that Wilson had driven across the nation, the 70-year-old Army veteran pulled into a Paul Ryan rally in northwest Ohio on Monday, showing off the new wheels.
“It’s kind of like steering a sailboat in a gale. It has fins and wings but no rudder,” he said of the vehicle. Counting both trucks, Wilson estimates he has now driven 140,000 miles and been to 42 states to support Romney.
Wilson, an early and enthusiastic supporter of Romney in the GOP primaries, has no official role in the campaign. But he has been a constant presence at campaign events, and acquired a measure of fame when he was profiled in the New York Times. When his original truck caught fire on a highway in Pennsylvania, the Romney campaign bought a replacement — an example of what Wilson says is Romney’s underappreciated generosity.
Smoking a pipe Monday, and wearing shorts and a T-shirt despite cool weather and strong gusting winds, Wilson said he was unconcerned about Romney’s recent spate of bad publicity and lagging poll numbers.
“I’m very optimistic,” he said. “This is very similar to the Reagan-Carter race. People didn’t focus until the last two weeks. I see a strong potential for a last-minute landslide.”Alan Wirzbicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.