Loading...

Biden’s 3rd Trip to Reddish Ohio Pushes His Economic Agenda

Biden’s 3rd Trip to Reddish Ohio Pushes His Economic Agenda
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. From left, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden just can’t quit Ohio — even if it rejected him in last year’s election.

The Democrat travels to Cincinnati on Wednesday to push his economic policies. It’s the third visit of his presidency to Ohio, the only state he lost that he has visited multiple times.

Ohio was once an electoral prize that could decide who occupied the White House, but its embrace of Republicans has tightened over the past decade. The visit is a testament to Biden’s belief that going straight to voters will help cross a barbed political divide.

“Half of life is showing up, and Joe Biden shows up,” said John Anzalone, Biden’s presidential campaign pollster. “He’s going to be a president for people who voted for him and people who voted against him.”

Ohio Republicans, for their part, see the presidential attention as a chance to make the case against Democrats. The state faces a heated Senate election next year with the retirement of Republican Rob Portman, who helped negotiate a $973 billion infrastructure plan with Biden that now faces an uncertain future in the evenly split Senate.

The president’s visit will take him near the dangerously outdated Brent Spence Bridge — a chokepoint for trucks and emergency vehicles between Ohio and Kentucky that the past two presidents promised without success to replace. But Republicans are more focused on the increase in shootings and crime in Cincinnati, which they blame on Democrats, although there are a host of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic.

“President Joe Biden will visit a great city suffering from devastating levels of violent crime caused by the failed leadership of Democrat Mayor John Cranley,” said Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Paduchik, adding that he believes Biden also failed “to protect Americans and our southern border.”

Violent crime, particularly shootings and homicides, have been on the rise nationwide. But overall, far fewer crimes are committed than 10 years ago. Cincinnati, for example, saw a high number of shootings and record homicides in 2020 as the pandemic raged, according to the city’s data. Homicides are slightly lower this year, with 49 homicides as of July 10 compared with 53 during the same period last year.

Before a town hall in Cincinnati to be shown on CNN, Biden will visit a training center for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to discuss policies to create union jobs. The president can already say he’s delivered results for the area with $280 million in local relief funds for Cincinnati and $159 million for the surrounding Hamilton County from his coronavirus aid package.

The president’s time is one of the administration’s most valuable commodities. With presidential visits to the Ohio cities of Columbus, Cleveland and now Cincinnati, the White House is betting that Biden’s policies are popular with independent voters and that the electorate will reward a president and party that are trying to solve their problems.

Democratic wins have been few and far between outside Ohio’s cities. The state is a microcosm of the national challenge for a party whose voters are clustered around large metro areas. Winning Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Akron is not enough to overcome Republican advantages in the state’s more rural counties. Former President Donald Trump may have energized Ohio voters, but the GOP’s track record of success predates him.

“Ohio is not exactly trending well for Dems the past couple cycles, but it is deeper than just Trump,” said Republican strategist Michael Hartley. “It is something that is almost at a fundamental level and has to do as much with the quality of candidates and the status of the Ohio Dem Party. They just don’t know how to connect with the majority of Ohio voters.” 

Democrat Sherrod Brown has safely held onto his Senate seat since 2006. That election was the last big set of victories statewide by Democrats, a wave made possible after a political scandal for Republicans that involved state funds being invested in rare coins. However, next year might be a chance for Democrats to take Portman’s seat.

“A brutal Republican primary gives them their best shot to rebuild,” said Robert Alexander, a political science professor at Ohio Northern University. “In essence, what happens in 2022 is a last stand of sorts for Democrats to avoid the state moving from reddish purple to blood red.”

The most notable Republican candidates in a crowded field are courting Trump. There’s former party chair Jane Timken, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, banker Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and car dealer turned tech executive Bernie Moreno. So far, the most prominent Democrat seeking the seat is U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, whose northeastern district includes the city of Youngstown.

The race is as much about Biden as the staying power of Trump. Turnout might decline without Trump on the ballot in 2022, giving a boost to Democrats who can appeal to working-class voters, Alexander said.

“There is no doubt that Republicans in the state are doing their best to mimic Trump both online and in their public events,” he said. “Whether that actually translates to voter turnout is an open question.”

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.

In The News

Health

Voting

Democrats' Road to the White House in 2024 Starts in South Carolina

Since President Biden announced his preference for South Carolina to be the first Democratic presidential primary state, many have put... Read More

Since President Biden announced his preference for South Carolina to be the first Democratic presidential primary state, many have put in their two cents on the matter. As the South Carolina state director for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign, I’m proud to have joined a group... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Tom Ramstack
Lawmakers Want Justice Department to Investigate More Trump Supporters

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are asking the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate whether Special Counsel John Durham and former... Read More

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are asking the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate whether Special Counsel John Durham and former Attorney General Bill Barr abused their authority with their review of Congress' Russia inquiry. The Democrats say they suspect Durham and Barr might have been helping... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Dan McCue
Bipartisan Bill to Benefit ‘VetDogs’ Reintroduced

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill intended to benefit service dogs working with disabled veterans has been reintroduced by Rep. Patrick... Read More

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill intended to benefit service dogs working with disabled veterans has been reintroduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. H.R. 807, The Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act, would direct the Treasury Department to mint a three-coin commemorative series honoring the role working dogs... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Kate Michael
Officials Wary of Aid Fatigue for Ukrainian Refugees

WASHINGTON — As a full year closes in on what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine, the United... Read More

WASHINGTON — As a full year closes in on what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 7.8 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries and over 65 million people are internally displaced. While... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Dan McCue
Comer Determined to Advance Inquiries Into Bidens, White House

WASHINGTON — Speaking before the National Press Club this week, House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said his panel is... Read More

WASHINGTON — Speaking before the National Press Club this week, House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said his panel is determined to press investigations into President Joe Biden and his family to ensure they did not illegally profit from relationships with China. “Unfortunately … I feel... Read More

February 3, 2023
by Dan McCue
Biden Travels to Philadelphia Bearing $500M for Water Upgrades

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday afternoon to announce $500 million has been allocated to... Read More

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday afternoon to announce $500 million has been allocated to the city's water upgrades and lead pipe removal. According to senior White House officials, about $160 million of that total will be allocated through the bipartisan... Read More

News From The Well