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President Donald Trump loves Ohio. On Election Day, he’ll find out if Ohio still loves him back.
The Republican president makes his final midterm election push through the Buckeye State today, campaigning in suburban Cleveland in an effort to tamp down Democratic support in northeastern Ohio.
He’s supporting Republican Mike DeWine, the state’s attorney general who has campaigned neither as the Trump candidate nor the anti-Trump candidate. DeWine often jokes that he’s the only thing Trump and GOP Gov. John Kasich, a frequent critic of the president, can agree on.
Democrat Rich Cordray, President Barack Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leader, needs the Cleveland area to win a tight race with DeWine Tuesday.
Midterm elections are referendums on the president, and this one should be no exception. Trump won the state over Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 8 percentage points in 2016.
Two years later, about 44.2 percent of likely Ohio voters approve of the job Trump is doing, according to a recent Baldwin Wallace University poll.
But Ohioans’ views of the president’s performance depends greatly on their political leanings: 85.5 percent of Republicans polled approved of the job he’s doing while 88.2 percent of Democrats disapproved.
Headed into a 2020 re-election bid, Trump wants a different Republican in Ohio’s top spot. Kasich has been a thorn in Trump’s side. DeWine almost certainly won’t be.
“Mike DeWine will be a great Governor for the People of Ohio. He is an outstanding man who loves his State – and always produces big,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
DeWine has walked an awkward linebetween Kasich, whom he campaigned with Friday, and Trump, whom he’ll join today.
DeWine hasn’t campaigned as a “Trump candidate,” unlike U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. DeWine has skipped several Trump rallies during the campaign, often sending GOP lieutenant governor candidate Jon Husted in his stead.
Contrast that with Cordray, who stood hand-in-hand with former President Barack Obama at an East Cleveland rally just two months ago.
Democrats hope Trump’s visit is a double-edged sword. The president inspires his supporters, but he also fires up his detractors.
Election Day is tomorrow. Cordray, DeWine, Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine and Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton are running for governor. Ohioans can vote early at their county board of elections from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.