These rural Ohioans identify with Trump-Pence ticket
September 28, 2016 9:36 PM
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, Wednesday night brought his neighborly manner and tough law-and-order message to rural northeast Ohio
By Dan Majors / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
LEETONIA, Ohio -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, Wednesday night brought his neighborly manner and tough law-and-order message to rural northeast Ohio, where the folks just ate it up.
“I’ll tell you what, he touched my heart,” said Stefanne Bryan, 43, who with her best friend, Kim McCormick, joined several hundred supporters of the Donald Trump ticket in the Leetonia High School gymnasium to hear Mr. Pence speak for 30 minutes. “I could feel the joy in the room. I’m just glad they thought to come into a small town like this.”
Leetonia, a farming community of fewer than 2,000 people about an hour northeast of Pittsburgh, has seen some hard times, and the residents take a hard view of the way government works.
“It was great,” Ms. McCormick said of Mr. Pence’s rally cries. “He backed up some of the things that I really do believe about Trump.
“Trump reminds me of Jim Traficant,” she said, referencing the former local member of the House of Representatives who was expelled from Congress and served a seven-year prison sentence for filing false tax returns and racketeering. He died in 2014. “He might have been crooked, but he was crooked for the people against the politicians.”
Mr. Pence, who came to town with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Charlottte was playing their tune.
“Donald Trump never quits, never backs down,” he said, speaking from notes at a podium flanked by flags and the high school’s cheerleaders and marching band. “He’s a fighter and a winner. He’s a doer. And he doesn’t go tiptoeing around all those rules of political correctness.”
Despite the fact that most of Mr. Pence’s remarks were from his standard stump speech, the crowd found it refreshing, especially since they hadn’t seen a politician stop by these parts since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came through decades ago with his second wife, Marianne Ginther, who graduated from Leetonia High School.
Mr. Pence made a point of praising Mr. Trump’s debate performance Monday night as he lumped Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, early and often for having “perfected the politics of personal profit” from speaking fees to the Clinton Foundation.
“The media are so busy parsing every word that Donald Trump has said in the last 30 minutes that they don’t have time to talk about all the things the Clintons have done in the last 30 years,” Mr. Pence said in assailing “the pay-to-play brand of government that the American people are sick and tired of.”
Jared Brauer, 27, drove 45 minutes from Akron to hear the governor.
“I think he’s a good running mate for Donald Trump,” he said. “He kind of balances out Trump, and I like that.”
The sign-waving supporters chanted “U-S-A” and applauded police and veterans on cue before cheering Mr. Pence’s call for them to grab their friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers and get them to the polls Nov. 8.
Ms. McCormick vowed to do so, noting that when Mrs. Clinton criticized half of Mr. Trump’s supporters as being in “the basket of deplorables,” she was talking about her.
“My neighborhood is full of deplorables,” Ms. McCormick said. “It’s a badge of honor. My son-in-law’s got ‘deplorable’ written on his motorcycle. We don’t care.”
Dan Majors: email@example.com and 412-263-1456.
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