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Cambridge, Ohio — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence isn’t shy about touting the accomplishments of his home state, but on Aug. 10 he turned the spotlight on his neighbor to the east.
Pence, seeking to become the next vice president of the United States, as Republican Donald Trump’s running mate, told a crowd of several hundred supporters in Guernsey County that Ohio will play a pivotal role in picking the next president.
“The Buckeye State is going to loom very large,” he said. “I mean, you always do… you’re used to it… I want you to leave here today ready to talk to your neighbors and friends… The choice is in your hands.”
Pence spoke for about half an hour in Cambridge, following a Dayton stop earlier in the day. He didn’t offer any apologies, either, for Trump or any of the comments the billionaire businessman has made as of late.
“Donald Trump gets it, right? He’s a genuine article, he’s a distinctly American leader… He just speaks his heart and he speaks his mind, and he doesn’t go tiptoeing around…,” Pence said. “He speaks straight from his mind, and the American people hear him loud and clear.”
Pence’s Cambridge visit came a day after the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute had Clinton up over Trump in a new survey of likely Ohio voters.
The former secretary of state led, 49 percent-45 percent, compared to virtual ties in Quinnipiac polls earlier this year. The latest poll of 812 Ohio voters had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
“It is not that her voters are in love with Sec. Clinton — they just dislike her less than they disdain Trump,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the poll said in a released statement. “In fact, among Clinton voters in all three states [Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida], more than four in 10 say their opposition to Trump, rather than their liking of her, is the main reason for their vote. Among Trump voters, dislike of Sec. Clinton is even a larger factor in their choice. Among Trump voters, well over half say they back him because they dislike her.”
Democrats and Republicans
Democrats slammed Trump’s economic policy proposals in separate events in Columbus and Dayton in advance of Pence’s appearances.
Former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta) cited an independent analysis of the jobs plans offered by Clinton and Trump. The former’s proposal, she said, would created millions of jobs across the country and some 360,000 in Ohio; the latter’s proposal would cost the country and Ohio jobs.
“We’ve got a guy that makes products in Bangladesh and China and Mexico,” Garrison said. “He’s outsourcing all these jobs that he says he wants to bring back to the United States. If you look at his walk versus his talk, his record is that of manufacturing in other countries …”
She added, concerning Trump’s demeanor, “He’s impolite. He doesn’t recognized that what … he says matters. You see Republican after Republican un-endorsing him or coming out in force for another candidate, some even for Sec. Clinton.”
But Republican state lawmakers on hand Aug. 10 urged voters to back Trump and Pence, noting the importance of Appalachia in the coming November election.
“We’ve got to carry the load,” said state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville). “The responsibility is on Appalachia, southeastern [Ohio], the hardworking people of this great state. Don’t let people make excuses and say he does this and he says that… Go out, vote Trump.”
State Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta), added, “We need a new path, a new vision and a united effort to defeat Hillary Clinton and leave behind the past eight years of anemic growth, foreign policy failure and government overreach.”
Pence mostly focused his comments on the economic plan unveiled by Trump earlier in the week, which included calls for simplifying the tax code, capping business taxes at 15 percent and eliminating estate taxes.
“We will cut taxes across the board for every American,” Pence said, adding concerning Trump’s position on energy reform, “Donald Trump digs coal, and we’re going to get coal back in business. We’re going to end the war on coal.”
Pence spoke briefly about Ohio Gov. John Kasich, telling attendees he was a “great governor.” But the comment drew “boos” from the crowd (Kasich is not supporting Trump’s candidacy).
Pence also urged attendees to support Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who is in a tight race in Ohio against former Gov. Ted Strickland.
Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.