Northeast Ohio Republican Voters Stand Behind Trump In The Midterms

Republican voters collect campaign literature at a meeting in Lyndhurst.
Republican voters collect campaign literature at a meeting in Lyndhurst. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Republicans hope to hold the line this November against Democratic attempts to take back more power in Congress and Columbus.

Democrats in Northeast Ohio are trying to encourage turnout to correct course after their defeat in 2016. Meanwhile, local GOP voters say they support President Trump and have been energized by the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Earlier this month, a couple dozen people filled seats in a Republican campaign office in Lyndhurst. Projected on a screen near the back was the second gubernatorial debate between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray.

Some people listened while sticking stamps on campaign letters. Afterward, they handed out literature for Republicans up and down the ticket.

Asked if President Trump would help or hurt Republicans this year, Barbara Latini said people should look at his record.

“He’s done some excellent things,” Latini said. “Some people don’t like the way he talks, or his tweets. But when you look at what he has accomplished, that’s a good thing.”

She mentioned the administration’s reinstatement of what’s known as the Mexico City policy, a ban on using U.S. foreign aid to support or provide information about abortion.

Rita Krebs, another anti-abortion voter, said she was unhappy with the nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, the Trump Supreme Court pick accused of committing sexual assault while in high school. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

“I was very upset with how Kavanaugh was treated in regards to the general media,” Krebs said.

That was a common refrain among loyal Republican voters. Many said they feel Senate Democrats treated Kavanaugh unfairly. Another shared theme: a belief that the news media is against them.

Two years ago, a number of Republicans expressed skepticism that Trump could truly represent the party. Some worried he’d weigh down other GOP candidates. In some Cleveland suburbs like Bay Village, Westlake and Rocky River, Trump underperformed the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

But Bob Bodi, the president of the Westshore Republican Club, said times have changed.

“That question’s gone. That question is dead,” Bodi said. “Almost everybody who questioned that now agrees that Trump has been a good Republican. He’s implemented conservative policies, he’s cut taxes, he’s nominated conservatives to the Supreme Court.”

This year, Bodi said, national developments like the Kavanaugh hearings could animate voters who aren’t so moved by the governor’s race.

“I don’t think either of the candidates are extremely charismatic,” he said. “And so people are just kind of ignoring it, and so you get the complacency and people don’t necessarily want to turn out. But when they see what’s happening in Washington, I think it certainly wakes up the base.”

He said Republicans will probably lose some seats in the House and gain a couple in the Senate.

In North Royalton last week, members of the local Republican club gathered for a regular meeting.

Stephen Sweetnich was visiting from another conservative club, the Cuyahoga Valley Republicans. He said it’s possible that Democrats could win the House. And if they do, he’s concerned they’ll set to work blocking and dismantling the president’s policies. 

“I see all those things are at stake in this election,” Sweetnich said. “And so I’m terrified that they’ll take the House and reverse these things. I think we need to give Trump two more years to complete his initial agenda and prove that he’s good for his word.”

One local Republican, Ken Wolnik, offered some constructive criticism for the president this election season.

“I’d like to see Trump get rid of his tweeter,” Wolnik said. “I mean he’s, I know what he’s doing, because he’s trying to compensate for all of the negative publicity from the left.”

But the tweets, he said, can give opponents ammunition.

Still, Wolnik mentioned Trump rallies and speeches he’s seen, and said he thinks the president will energize Republicans this fall.

“I think Republicans are going to win big,” he said. “I don’t believe in the blue tide.”

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