,Local politicians and McCain supporters gathered at the new Montgomery County McCain campaign headquarters grand opening at 475 Norristown Road in Blue Bell Tuesday.

The headquarters is one of about 12 statewide in counties such as Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks, Allegheny, Erie, and Scranton.

This year's presidential election takes place during the first time in Montgomery County history that the county's main party affiliation registration numbers have flip-flopped from a majority of Republicans to Democrats.

Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Robert Kerns encouraged party volunteers to go to door-to-door and participate in the county headquarters' phone bank.

Kerns said the issues most important to voters in Montgomery County are McCain's stances on immigration and against earmarking spending.

"McCain appeals to independents because he doesn't tow party lines," Kerns said.

Pennsylvania Chairman of John McCain for President Bob Asher said Montgomery County will be a keystone county in the keystone state this election year. Asher said McCain appeals to Montgomery County voters due to a record of being fiscally conservative.

"I think the fact that he is available to listen to everybody's position is one aspect that appeals to our voters in Montgomery County. I think he will do very well," Asher said.

A number of local politicians spoke in support of McCain.

Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, said McCain is articulate on an international and national level and noted McCain's military experience.

"If you look at the two candidates' background and personality traits, John McCain is on top. The people of this country need him in the White House," Greenleaf said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift said though swing states can be a little bit of an uphill battle for candidates, McCain can win Pennsylvania because of his record.

"John McCain will not only do what he knows is right but will put the needs of the country before the political party. I think he has the right blend of experience and independence to lead the country in very challenging times," Swift said.

Alma Jacobs, a resident of Blue Bell and former Whitpain GOP committee chairwoman who attended the grand opening, said she is a strong supporter of McCain. Jacobs said she met McCain in Philadelphia six years ago and plans to head a coalition of seniors for McCain in Montgomery County.

"I've followed him for a long time. I think he is the right man for president and the right man for the job at this time," Jacobs said.

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