Ohio Republicans Prepare For Trump Campaign
It’s been said many times, and will be repeated often in 2020 – no Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. As the presidential campaigns get going, Republicans and campaign staffers for President Trump say they have one common message to voters as they try to win Ohio again. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.
It's no secret that the impeachment of President Donald Trump will play a big role in the 2020 race. He even addresses it head-on at his rallies, like this one in Battle Creek, Michigan.
"It doesn't really feel like we're being impeached. We did nothing wrong, we did nothing wrong."
And in this typically bellwether state, the Trump Campaign in Ohio says all the congressional hearings and investigations only distract Democrats. Trump 2020 Senior Advisor Bob Paduchik was co-chair of the RNC for the last two years, and ran the 2016 Trump campaign in Ohio.
"What we found is that that the president's supporters are angry about what the Democrats have done in the house. They see that this impeachment effort is nothing that it is a partisan game that the rules are changed that it's being conducted on a partisan level that there's nothing fair about the process and they're angry and that makes them more motivated."
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken all say there's a clear reason why voters will be drawn to vote for the president come November, the economy.
"The president's delivered. He said he was going to run on an America First agenda that he was going to bring jobs back that he was going to bring make sure the economy was growing."
Timken was handpicked by Trump to lead the state Party after his 2016 win. She says the Trump campaign has a lot more muscle going into 2020 now - starting with the official backing of the Ohio GOP, which Trump didn't have four years ago when John Kasich won the presidential primary. Timken adds that Trump already has a strong campaign presence in Ohio.
"We have almost 20 field staff on the ground and they've been on the ground for the most part since the July through the end of the summer. And their job quite frankly was to connect with voters."
Timken says the staff has been building local support around the state by holding "Make America Great Again" rallies, where the campaign staff connects with volunteers. Trump himself will be in Toledo this month for his very first 2020 rally.
Mike Gonidakis is an anti-abortion advocate and delegate for Trump. He says Democrats like to target the president on his rhetoric and controversial statements he makes on Twitter. However, Gonidakis argues that the average Ohio voter does not view the president's term under a microscope but instead zooms out to a larger picture.
"What they want to see at the end of the day is it is the economy doing OK. I do I have more opportunities than I had before. And as our nation safe I think those are the foundations what people are looking for and times are good they're going to pull the lever for the person in power and they did that for Barack Obama which is why most presidents get re-elected. And the same thing we believe will happen for President Trump."
Critics of the president say America's economy isn't as good as Trump reports, pointing to places like Lordstown which lost the General Motors Chevy Cruze plant and Appalachia, where the coal industry is struggling and unemployment is much higher than the state and national average. But supporters push back saying some areas, such as Lordstown, are seeing a resurgence.
But Paduchik says the campaign and Republican party feel confident about their message and their game plan.
"He cannot get reelected without winning Ohio. It's impossible. There's no real scenario where he loses Ohio and wins Pennsylvania or Michigan. It just doesn't happen. Ohio is a good bellwether of the country. Nothing's changed with that. And I think that you know you see the investment that's been made early on. We have a couple dozen staffers on board here. They're getting ready they put plans together to do some hiring early part of next year and the investments there."
While Democrats have been touting their increasing support in Ohio's suburbs, Republicans argue the state is still solidly "red." They point to the 2018 election results where the Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike DeWine beat Democratic nominee Rich Cordray by about four percentage points and a turnout of nearly 56 percent.