BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Representatives of Mahoning County’s Democrat and Republican parties met Friday to get a handle on why so many Democrats voted for President Donald Trump.
Before last year’s primary, there were 14,000 registered Republicans in Mahoning County.
The number more than doubled before the presidential election, including 7,000 Democrats who switched parties.
Mahoning County’s GOP Party had a half-dozen people explain why they had lost interest in the Democratic Party and switched sides.
“Because there is no such freedom as it is in this nation. We all need to stand for what is right, for what is true. We don’t have to be bought with food stamps, or telephones, or whatever to be bought. We need our nation,” said Republican voter Khahadija Gillette.
President Trump lost Mahoning County to Hillary Clinton, but he won Trumbull and Columbiana counties on the way to taking Ohio.
Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Trump’s administration isn’t living up to many of the promises made during last year’s campaign, however.
“We’re not only telling people about his lies and about the fact that it’s not change for the better. It’s change for the worse,” he said. “We’re telling people about what we stand for. We stand for good jobs. We stand for quality education. We stand for health care as a right, not a privilege.”
Perez was at Wedgewood Pizza in Boardman on Friday to speak with local party and union leaders. He and other party leaders have been traveling the country to meet with local Democrats who switched parties last year to vote for Trump.
Despite losing the presidential race, Perez said Democratic candidates can get elected.
“You look at all the down-ballot races, Democrats did very well in this neck of the woods, and what we need to do up and down the ticket is speak directly to people’s fear and hopes and talk to them,” he said.
Friday’s private party was part of what leaders are calling their “Resistance Summer,” in which they hope to give a boost to state party organizations and local candidates heading into their fall general elections, as well as the midterm races in 2018.