The upcoming rally in Lorain County will reveal if ex-President Donald Trump still has campaign mojo

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WASHINGTON, DC – Donald Trump did not lose the Ohio presidency. State voters backed the Republican in greater numbers last year than they did in 2016, although losses elsewhere drove Democrat Joe Biden into the White House.

Trump will return to Ohio next week to hold his first campaign-style rally of the 2022 election cycle. Trump’s allies told cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer that he will use the June 26 show at the Lorain County Fairgrounds to thank his supporters in Ohio for supporting last year his America First political agenda Promote and bolster his former assistant Max Miller’s primaries Challenge to Rocky River GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment against Trump following the January 6th riot in the U.S. Capitol.

Opinions were mixed, however, as to whether Trump’s visit had any chance for Gonzalez of a third term in Congress.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said in an interview that Trump supporters expected “very large crowds” at the rally, although it is too early to say which politicians will join Trump on stage. The former North Carolina congressman said ex-colleagues from across the country contacted him about participating, though it will be up to Trump to decide who will join him on the podium.

In addition to promoting Miller’s candidacy, Meadows said he would use the rally to devise a plan for how the nation must proceed with Trump’s “America First” agenda, comparing it to the first six months of Biden’s administration, and some of the opportunities Biden missed.

“He’ll be honest about what we need to talk about in 2022 and 2024 and beyond,” said Meadows. “That will be very positive news. Many people across the country have asked him to get out and use his megaphone to encourage and cheer up many voters who are disappointed with the country’s development in such a short period of time. “

Meadows said he does not expect Trump to use the Ohio trip to announce whether he will be visiting the White House again, although he “is more likely than not to walk again because of the conversations I have with him.” to run again ”. He said Trump plans to visit several other states to promote candidates he supports and spread his “positive message for America” ​​across the country.

“Nothing is decided in Ohio,” Meadows continued. “The more enthusiastic the audience, the more people appear at the rally, the more encouraging the President will see this. … I see this as an extremely important rally that will set the tone for the balance sheet for the 2022 elections across the country. “

Meadows said Trump’s endorsement of Miller changed the dynamics of this race “almost overnight”. Meadows described Miller as someone in the White House who “never said no to a unique challenge” and always found a way to accomplish his assigned role.

“He’s not the type to hand over the money,” Meadows said of the first-time runner, a Rocky River resident who graduated from Cleveland State University and served as Trump’s senior adviser in the White House. “Not only will he run as a strong Conservative and America’s first candidate, he will deliver and find no excuses for votes that might be challenging.”

Benefits of Gonzalez

A Gonzalez spokesman declined to comment on the upcoming rally. Following his impeachment vote, Gonzalez issued a statement saying Trump “helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress to prevent us from performing our solemn constitutional duties meet ”to count the votes of the presidential election. “Five people died – including a Capitol policeman – many more were injured and our democracy was shaken.”

Gonzalez, whose votes coincided with Trump’s positions more than 85% of the time, subsequently told cleveland.com that despite the backlash, he has no regrets for voting for Trump’s impeachment. He did not face a primary campaign in 2020 and won the parliamentary elections with 63.2% of the vote. His district’s boundaries will be redrawn ahead of next May’s primaries, which will affect the election challenges.

When campaign funding reports were filed in late March, Gonzalez had twice the money in his campaign fund as Miller, even after Trump hosted a fundraiser for Miller at the Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump’s rally in Lorain County will take place a few days before the fundraising deadline for the next quarterly fundraising report that Miller will submit to the federal electoral commission.

Baldwin Wallace University political science professor Tom Sutton said some of Ohio’s earliest support for Trump’s 2016 presidential election came from northeast Ohio, and noted his support from former Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne and the owner of the IX Center .

Sutton said Trump’s 2020 Ohio Campaign had better resources and organization than Biden’s armed forces, as Democrats focused on states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which Trump won by a smaller margin in 2016. Sutton said Ohio voters responded to Trump’s economic message and gave him recognition for new jobs in the state, such as the opening of a new Amazon distribution center.

Trump’s upcoming rally for Miller will draw attention to Miller, who is unknown, will help Miller build a grassroots network and fundraising for his campaign, and will continue to draw negative attention to Gonzalez for his impeachment vote, Sutton said and added Miller has yet to prove that he is a viable alternative to Gonzalez.

“Gonzalez has a track record as a congressman who can talk about his own conservative values ​​and what he’s done for the district,” said Sutton. “He may not have Trump’s support, but there are other reasons people might support him. He was an Ohio State football player, he went to St. Ignatius, he’s a retired professional footballer. It’s going to be a really interesting test to see how much this Trump effect really matters. “

Former Cuyahoga County Republican Party leader Robert Frost, who supports Gonzalez, said Republican voters who disagree with Gonzalez’s impeachment vote, like the work he’s done overall. He said Gonzalez responded to constituent organizations and communities, arguing that “if you’ve been a star and delivered from the start, it’s hard to get over with just money.”

Frost predicted that Trump’s visit to Lorain County in next year’s primary election will be “a distant memory” for most voters, but noted that the money Miller raises from the visit can be spent anytime in the race.

“There are voters in this district who really supported Donald Trump. They liked the policies he enacted as president, they may still want him to be president, but they can separate that and know what their congressman is does, “said Frost, who was considering a Congressional challenge to former Democratic MP Dennis Kucinich a decade ago but abandoned the idea after the district’s lines were redrawn.

A look into the past

Gonzalez’s predecessor in Congress Jim Renacci said he intended to attend the Trump rally in Wellington. He did not support anyone in the district primary he left in 2018 to run for the Senate.

Medina County’s Republican Party leader Renacci is currently facing a major challenge for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. When asked if he was attending the rally to seek Trump’s support for his next run, Renacci said he was going there “to see an old friend and hopefully have a chance to speak to him.”

“If I can talk to him, I’ll talk to him about the race and catch him up on things in the state and northeast Ohio,” said Renacci.

Renacci said he had advised candidates seeking his former seat in Congress that he disagreed with Gonzalez’s vote because he did not believe Trump had due process before the House of Representatives acted. He said he told Gonzalez he had until next year’s primary to fix things with voters, and told Miller he was a good candidate who will have to convince Republican-minded independents to get the Job can do.

Republican anger over Gonzalez’s impeachment vote is “significant,” Renacci said, but political memories are short and Gonzalez will have many opportunities to discuss the things he has done and will do to benefit the district. If Miller leads his campaign properly, Renacci said he will repeatedly remind voters of Gonzalez’s vote as Renacci plans to remind voters of what he described as flaws in DeWine’s records.

Who is performing?

The DeWine press secretary did not respond to a request to attend the Trump rally. The Champaign County office GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, an ally of Trump and Meadows, whose district includes parts of Lorain County, said he had not made up his mind whether to attend and had not supported anyone in the 16th district area code.

United States Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, will definitely not be there, according to his office. Portman said he disagreed with the vote to impeach Gonzalez but supported his re-election.

“He’s a friend and a good official, and I support him,” Portman told reporters in March. “In general, for Republicans, we need to focus on unity and politics. From my point of view, that’s what people are looking for. “

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