Monroe County Republicans and the Michigan Republican Party opened an office in downtown Monroe Tuesday night to kick off the 2012 campaign for the presidency and a get-out-the-vote in support of Mitt Romney. #About 60 supporters and candidates for state, county and local offices gathered to hear Bobby Schostak, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, declare that although the party is an underdog, Michigan was ripe for voting Republican for the first time since 1988 when President George H.W. Bush won. #“Remember, we’re the underdog,” Mr. Schostak told supporters inside the new headquarters at 40 S. Monroe St. for volunteers to make phone calls to get out the vote. “Obama has the power of the White House, pulpit and the media. We have to work harder and knock on more doors and win from the counties and grass-roots level up.” #He said volunteers from the “next generation” of voters are needed to help re-elect state and county leaders like Rep. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, conservative justices to the Michigan Supreme Court and a new U.S. senator to replace Sen. Debbie Stabenow. The party aims to get at least 1 million new voters in the state to the polls to recapture the White House and gain a majority in Congress. #He said there was a good chance Mr. Romney would visit Monroe following the party’s national convention in late August in Tampa, Fla. #The office, dubbed the Victory Center, is being run in conjunction with the Republican National Committee. The center has multiple rooms and two dozen phones at its disposal. It is located in a former dance and art studio between the Book Nook and a former optometrist office. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Frankie Dame is director of the center. Anyone wishing to assist with making calls, distributing signs or knocking on doors can contact him at (517) 898-9894. #Mr. Schostak cited efforts by Gov. Rick Snyder and a Republican-led Legislature in just 1 ½ years to turn a $1.5 billion budget deficit into a balanced spending plan. He said lawmakers also eliminated the cap on spending for charter schools and removed automatic lifetime benefits for elected officials. #He said Michigan is becoming known nationally as the “comeback state” by re-investing in business and its workers. #“Michigan’s best days are in front of us, not behind us,” he said. #Among those attending the open house were Norm Shinkle, a former state senator and Bedford Township resident; Anne Rossio, a candidate for the 17th District state representative office, Rep. Zorn and about a dozen precinct delegates.