Our region still a key
We live in a region that is interesting for many reasons.
One of those comes up every four years or so when we are reminded about the importance of our Tri-State Area in national politics.
Another reminder of that came on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump held another one of his “Great American Comeback” rallies in an Atlantic Aviation hangar at Pittsburgh International Airport.
That appearance came during a swing of the Midwest that included Ohio stops at Wright Bros. Aero in Vandalia and the Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport on Monday.
Tuesday’s airport rally was the president’s latest visit to our region.
He held a similar event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe earlier this month.
Expect to see a lot of Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, their family members and numerous high-profile campaign surrogates making numerous appearances throughout the region during the six weeks or so that are left before the Nov. 3 election. Pence, in fact, campaigned about 90 minutes away from here in Zanesville on Sept. 17.
No matter what you read about in national polls, this year’s election, like most of those that have been held in our lifetimes, will come down to which way voters go in just a handful of states.
It’s a small group that just happens to include Ohio and Pennsylvania. At stake are 18 electoral votes in the Buckeye State and 20 electoral votes in the Keystone State and, according to projections from Politico, voters in both states remain undecided.
Ohio, Politico reports, is learning toward Trump, while Pennsylvania is leaning toward Biden. Which means those states, as well as Michigan, which is leaning toward Biden; Georgia and Texas, which are leaning toward Trump; and Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona, which are still considered to be toss-ups, are where we are likely to see the greatest number of campaign visits.
That also means that West Virginia, which is considered to be solidly in favor of Trump, is less likely to see a stop.
And if the past several election cycles are any indication, it’s likely that the Steubenville area will be the location for at least one stop.
You don’t have to go back that far for examples. In 1992, for instance, Bill Clinton and Al Gore made one of the first stops in their campaign in Weirton, just a day or so after they received the Democratic nominations in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. That ticket would go on to defeat Republican incumbent President George H.W. Bush and his vice president, Dan Quayle.
In 2004, Democrat John Kerry held a rally at Historic Fort Steuben during his unsuccessful attempt to unseat George W. Bush. Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards, meanwhile, made an appearance in Weirton.
The 2008 campaign saw visits from campaign elites. In February, Clinton spoke at Steubenville High School while campaigning for his wife, Hillary, during her unsuccessful primary run against eventual Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Obama, meanwhile, would enjoy a picnic at the Piergallini Farm in Smithfield that September.
And then in October, Republican nominee John McCain held a rally on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse just a few days before he was defeated by Obama in the general election.
Bill Clinton, in fact, is no stranger to our area. He also appeared here during the 2012 campaign season during a stop at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville while campaigning for Obama’s re-election, and in 2016 at Harding Middle School while again stumping for Hillary, who would be defeated by Trump.
Our region remains one of the key battleground areas in the country. Throw in some important local races, and it means things will be getting very interesting here during the next several weeks.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)