Kasich Wins Ohio While Mahoning Valley Backs Trump

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich denied Donald Trump Ohio’s 66 delegates with his victory last night, but he did it without the help of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Voters in the three counties, including large numbers of Democrats and independents who reportedly took Republican ballots to cast votes in the GOP primary, gave their nod to the billionaire businessman, according to the unofficial results.

In Mahoning County, Trump received 50.4% of the vote to 36.4% for Kasich. Trumbull County voters casting GOP ballots gave 52.6% of their votes to Trump, compared with 34.1% for Kasich. In Columbiana County, Trump received 46.6% of the GOP vote, to Kasich’s 37.4%.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections had to run off additional GOP ballots to meet the greater than anticipated demand and officials in Trumbull County encountered the same shortage, according to news reports.

Despite losing in the Mahoning Valley, Kasich won Ohio with 47% of the vote to 36% for Trump. Ohio was Kasich’s first victory and Trump’s only loss of the night. Trump won the primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.

As of this morning, Missouri was too close to call in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

“It looks like there was an attempt to really try to stop Donald Trump in some places and then I think there were others that wanted to cross over and vote for Trump,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio.

Still, Ryan said he was surprised when he heard the percentages of local voters who cast ballots for Trump. He speculated that some of that was due to trade, an issue in both the Democratic and Republican primary contests.

Trump hammered Kasich on his vote in 1993, while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trade is a hot issue in both the Republican and Democratic primary battles.

“The trade issue in a Republican primary in an area like ours still has some pop and Kasich is a free trader through and through,” Ryan said. “He expanded Medicaid so I think he was perceived by a number of Republicans as not being conservative enough. But if had to identify one issue it would be the trade issue that Trump was able to really frame and identify himself with and stick that to Kasich in areas like ours.”

Trade also was an issue that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont effectively used in Michigan last week to deal a surprising loss to Hillary Clinton, whom Ryan supports in the Democratic primary. Clinton, who leads in the delegate count overall, added to her total by sweeping Sanders with wins in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Illinois.

Clinton has “a ton of momentum” and her victories with such large margins in the important swing states of Ohio and Florida last night shows the strength of her candidacy, Ryan said. Clinton appeared in Youngstown Saturday night.

“She’s hitting her stride as a candidate,” he added. “People are starting to realize she is a mature, smart adult with a lot of experience and she has a great vision for what places like Youngstown should look like and her policies can help us a lot.”

In Mahoning County, Clinton took 59.3% of the Democratic vote to 39.7% for Sanders. In Trumbull County, she won 54.1% of the vote to Sanders’ 44.2%. In Columbiana County, Clinton’s share of the vote was 52.6%, compared with 45.8% for Sanders.

She won 56.5% of the Ohio vote to Sanders’ 42.7%.

“She proved in Ohio against Bernie Sanders that she has a manufacturing agenda, anda smart economic growth agenda, and that’s why she won our area and tOhio so significantly,” Ryan said. “You’re seeing her message really begin to connect and resonate with people within our community.”

Ryan easily won the Democratic primary to retain his seat.

In nationally televised remarks last night from West Palm Beach, Fla., Clinton played off Trump’s proposal to build a wall to block illegal immigrants from Mexico, his “Make America Great Again” slogan and his campaign rhetoric, which has been criticized as being divisive.

“The next president has to bring us together. We should be breaking down barriers, not building walls. We’re not going to succeed by dividing this country between us and them,” she said.

“To be great, we can’t be small. We can’t lose what made America Great in the first place.”

Kasich’s victory in the state that twice elected him governor thwarted Trump’s effort to knock another opponent out of the race, as he had U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio earlier in the evening by winning Florida. Kasich overcame late attacks by Trump, including a primary eve event at Youngstown-Warren Regional airport where he spoke to about 2,000 supporters.

“As I’ve traveled the country and I look in your eyes, you want to believe. You want to believe again that we can have job security. You want to believe that wages can rise,” Kasich said in his victory speech, broadcast from Berea.

The governor reiterated that he wouldn’t “take the low road to the highest office in the land.”

Kasich was briefly interrupted by a Trump supporter at the beginning of his speech. Viewers could see the Trump backer’s “Make America Great Again” hat as he was escorted from the room.

“When you went to college in the 1970s, you appreciated good, peaceful protest once in a while,” Kasich remarked.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.