LEETONIA, Ohio (WKBN) – Small-Town America is getting a big visit with vice presidential candidate Mike Pence Wednesday night.
Northeast Ohio may consider itself Democratic, but the area’s reputation will be tested in November.
Leetonia is rolling out the welcome mat for Pence, and is excited the Trump campaign decided to stop in rural Columbiana County.
“I think Donald Trump realizes with Ohio, it’s a swing state and he wants the people that don’t get visited a lot. He wants to go out there and get the people that aren’t near the big cities,” said Keith Morrow, of Leetonia.
Trump-Pence signs are popular in Columbiana County, sitting in many yards and along several roads. The largest sign has stood outside State Route 45 Auto in Leetonia for six weeks.
Rural America has one big issue that resonates with the Republican campaign more than the Democrats’ campaign.
“I think everybody is just ready for a change. I mean, the economy has been down, jobs are down and everybody is just ready to see what they can do,” said Tom Gamble from State Route 45 Auto.
Despite losing Ohio in the primary, Trump dominated rural areas from Ashtabula County to the southern-most tip of the state. He won 30 counties in the state along the eastern and southern borders, most of them federally-classified Appalachian counties.
Trump won Columbiana County with 47 percent of Republican residents voting for him. That was still his lowest percentage in the area, compared to 51 percent in Mahoning and 53 percent in Trumbull.
In Leetonia, Down on Main sells Trump apparel, saying he’s the best candidate who understands they want to expand.
“I try to do mugs, however, they no longer make mugs in the United States, they make them overseas. You can’t even get an American-made mug anymore,” Emily Kegelmyer said. “I mean, that’s crazy. How are you going to keep jobs in the United States if you ship jobs overseas because it’s five cents cheaper?”
Pence will be driving through to see and hear their cry Wednesday night.
“It would be nice to bring opportunity to people to get them off the system, to give them jobs, give them opportunities. To give people food, shelter, everything,” Kegelmyer said.
None of them were born with a silver spoon, but many voters still feel closest with the billionaire candidate.
“If he can run a business successfully, I think he can run this country just as good as he runs a business,” said Michael Sanders, of Columbiana County.
Hillary Clinton has been promoting a $10 billion plan if she gets elected, claiming it would improve infrastructure and provide more high-speed internet in rural areas.