In the conference center of a Holiday Inn near the Portland International Airport, Freedom Rally-goers joined in on an opening prayer.
They sang the National Anthem, then “God Bless America.”
They wore wristbands printed with the American flag. Among the speakers were Sheriff David Clarke Jr., a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump and former Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, sheriff, and Dana Loesch, a nationally syndicated conservative radio host.
Most notably, there was Republican Rep. Greg Walden — a crowd favorite — who rallied a crowd of conservatives ahead of the November midterm elections to tout the accomplishments of the Republican Party in the past year.
“I know mine is a lonely voice in a panoply of a lot of liberal voices in a fairly liberal state,” Walden told reporters. “But by golly, I believe in what I believe in, I represent the people of the second district as effectively as I can. I work hard at it and they vote every cycle and I’ve done OK in those elections, and I intend to do well in this one.”
Since the election of President Donald Trump, the Oregon congressman has gained attention and influence. Still, Walden says he’s worried about the November midterm elections, just as he is about all elections.
“You have to be,” Walden said. “Because you have to earn the vote. Nobody can take a voter for granted nor should they. And so every election you have to make your case, tell them what you’ve done and ask for their support.”
Walden spent about 35 minutes making his case. At the podium, he cracked jokes about Democrats, partisanship and the media in a conference room where nearly all the seats were taken.
“You know tomorrow, there’s something big going on I guess, but I tell you what: You’re the patriots and eagles I want to be with. This is the Super Bowl of conservative politics right here,” he said (alluding to NFL teams from New England and Philadelphia, who play in the Super Bowl Feb. 4).
Walden touted low unemployment rates, Trump’s rollback of rules and regulations, the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, the appointment of conservative judges to federal courts and congressional Republicans’ $1.5 trillion tax cut bill that passed in December — the Trump administration’s first major legislative accomplishment.
“What a difference a year makes,” Walden told the crowd. “What a difference an election makes.”
“Chomped away at the jungle of regulation, overhaul of the tax code [and] we’ve got America on a strong economic path forward.”
There’s a long list of accomplishments yet to come, Walden said.
“We’re going to do everything we can to fulfill the promises the president, people like me made to the American people and the people we represent,” he said. “And we’ll never need your help more than going into this election cycle. And I can just tell you I’m a target.
“That’s alright. I’m up for it, I’m ready for it, we’ll take it to them. Bring the fight on.”