Ann Romney popular in Wales, but locals would vote for Barack Obama

His son Edward, Mrs Romney’s father, built up a highly successful engineering
company, Jered Industries, and became mayor of the wealthy Detroit suburb of
Bloomfield Hills.

Mrs Romney has maintained ties with her heritage, serving homemade Welsh cakes
to journalists following her 65-year-old husband’s election campaign and
even speaking a few words of Welsh that her grandmother taught her.

She has paid regular visits to her family in Wales since she was a child, and
is particularly close to her second cousin Roddy Evans, 77, a former Wales
and British Lions rugby union player who lives in the seaside resort of

Mr Evans’s brother, the Rev Peter Evans, 73, a retired vicar, has not met the
Romneys but is full of praise for the way the couple looked after one of his
daughters when she visited Boston on holiday while Mr Romney was governor of

However, family loyalty does not trump his views about the Republican
candidate’s conservative ideology.

“My brother is a very devout supporter of the Romneys. I would favour
Obama,” he said.

“But they are very kind people. My daughter was very impressed and was
very helped by them – they didn’t have to do that.”

The row of stone and red brick-clad two-up, two-down houses in King’s Terrace,
Nantyffyllon, where Mrs Romney’s grandparents lived has changed little since
they crossed the Atlantic.

Several family members still live within hundreds of yards of the street,
making the journey that has taken Mrs Romney almost to the top of the global
political elite all the more incredible.

Enid Maynard, 84, another second cousin, was taken to Bridgend railway station
as a babe in arms to wave off David and Annie Davies when they left for
America in around 1929.

She recalled that Mrs Romney’s grandmother was homesick for Wales. “She
didn’t really want to go, but they have done well out there,” she said.

Her brother Roderick Jones, 72, who lives four doors down from his sister in
Nantyffyllon, spent 30 years working in the same coal mine where Mrs
Romney’s grandfather was injured before it closed in 1980.

“It was hard work. For the first 10 to 15 years it was all shovels before
it went automatic. But it would have been worse for him,” he said.

Mr Jones has taken to following the US presidential race because of the family
link but is not generally interested in politics. “I just get on with
life. As long as they leave me alone, I’m happy. But it’s an honour for the
place if he gets in,” he said.

Another second cousin of Mrs Romney, Jeffery Smith, 65, a semi-retired tax
advisor, added: “It’s nice for the family, obviously. It’s quite nice
to think that someone whose grandmother was from Nantyffyllon could end up
in the White House.”

Mrs Romney, who has a horse competing in the Olympic dressage competition, is
expected to visit Roddy Evans in Porthcawl in the coming week, although her
husband’s aides are keeping tight-lipped about details of the trip.

However, despite the local connection, South Wales is showing no signs of
becoming swept up in US presidential election fever.

One pensioner who has lived on King’s Terrace in Nantyffyllon all her life
said: “I’m not that bothered. I quite like Obama, but at the end of the
day whoever gets in, I’m still stuck at the kitchen sink.”


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