Government

Donald Trump Wins the Canfield Fair by a Landslide

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CANFIELD, Ohio – If the presidential election were held Labor Day and the crowd at the Canfield Fair constituted the sole precinct, Donald Trump would win in a landslide, observed a North Lima businessman as he waited Monday afternoon for the presidential nominee to arrive.

“Can you believe this?” said Dave Collins, president of Diamond Steel Construction Co. and a GOP supporter from as far back as when Richard Nixon carried Mahoning County, the last Republican to do so.

Collins and attorney Joseph Houser, a Republican who serves as a county judge in Boardman, stood along the midway where the caravan of SUVs transported Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence to the fair (READ STORY).

The excitement – and the heat — had been building all day as fairgoers sweltered in anticipation of a chance to see the billionaire and reality TV star.

Early in the day, Fox News began broadcasting a series of live cut-ins outside the Mahoning County Republican Party tent where Trump supporters were helping to “build the wall” by buying and signing wooden bricks for the display. As reporter Peter Doocy, the son of Fox & Friends anchor Steve Doocy, explained the local party’s promotion to the national audience, they supplied an enthusiastic backdrop. And after each live shot, many had their pictures taken with Doocy.

“I got a call Sunday that Fox News was coming and I met them here at 8:30 this morning,” said Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County GOP.

“There’s so much national and international interest about what’s going on here in the Valley – it’s stunning.”

Munroe credits the idea for the faux brick wall to Tom McCabe, a veteran employee of the Mahoning County Elections Board. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We had great positive response.”

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Reporters speculated that Trump would buy one of the bricks and sign it, providing a made-for-TV photo op as the crowd chanted, “Build the wall. Build the wall.” But he did not add his own brick during his short visit to the party’s tent, instead chatting briefly with GOP loyalists and signing a few “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.

Munroe says he is amazed at how many Trump signs, bumper stickers and campaign pins the local GOP gave away during the Canfield Fair.

“We can hardly keep this stuff in stock. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in 45 years of coming to the fair and sitting in the Republican Party tent. And I see a lot of new faces — people who tell me, ‘I’m one of those Democrats who took a Republican ballot in the primary.’ I see a sea change in Mahoning Valley politics.”

From the vantage point of Labor Day at the Canfield Fair, it was easy to visualize a political tide. People wearing Trump T-shirts, “Make America Great” hats, campaign buttons and stickers seemed to be everywhere. More than a few vendors displayed Trump signs in their food trucks. One vendor even put out three tip jars labeled as a vote for Trump, a vote for Hillary Clinton or a vote for “none of them.” Trump won, followed by “none of them” and then Clinton.

This unscientific measure was confirmed by one taken by The Business Journal. As we walked the midways, randomly stopping people to ask “Trump or Clinton?” Trump won. Although we didn’t offer “none of them” as a choice, it came in second, followed by Clinton.

Of course, the Canfield Fair is not a statistical sample and racial or ethnic diversity is not a hallmark of any agricultural fair in any county.

With word leaking as early as Friday that Trump might come to the Valley — where else but the fair on Labor Day? — no doubt many of his ardent supporters made sure to be there.

“My kids say I’m Donald Trump’s biggest fan but America is Donald Trump’s biggest fan,” said Eric Hoffman, a resident of McDonald. “Nobody is perfect. He’s not a politician. He’s going to help bring jobs back definitely to the inner city and around America.”

“There are a lot of Democrats in this area who are for Trump,” added Juanita Rich, fourth ward councilman in Campbell. “I worked the primary election in March and many Democrats crossed over to vote for Trump. People are not satisfied with the way things are going and they think he’s an agent of change.”

Ahead of Trump’s visit, Democratic officeholders staged a press event outside the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s tent. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, made the case that once working people are familiar with Trump’s record, they will vote for Hillary Clinton. “[Trump] claims he’s for working people but everything he’s done, everything he represents, every business decision he’s made, tells us otherwise,” Trumka said.

As Trumka spoke, a line of Trump supporters waved signs in support of the Republican and questioning the honestly of Clinton. One man attempted to disrupt the press event by repeating shouting, “Blah, blah, blah.”

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U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, echoed remarks he made Thursday when Vice President Joe Biden addressed autoworkers at a union hall in Lordstown (before also visiting the fair), and emphasized the 3,500 civil lawsuits filed against Trump for not paying his company’s bills.

During a subsequent interview with The Business Journal, Ryan asserted, “A large number of people who crossed over in the primary were voting for [John] Kasich to stop Donald Trump.”

Pressed on his assertion, the congressman said the ratio may have been “4-to-2” – four crossover votes for Trump to two for Kasich.

“It’s going to be a tough race, going right down to the wire and we’ve got to go after every vote.”

VIDEO:
‘3 Minutes With’ Donald Trump at the Canfield Fair
MORE:
20,000 Enthusiastic Fans Greet Trump at Canfield Fair
AFL-CIO Chief Leads Preemptive Trump Strike

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.