President Donald Trump will visit the city of Delaware this weekend to show his support for Troy Balderson, the Republican candidate for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District seat.
The Trump rally is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, in the Coliseum at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Pennsylvania Avenue in Delaware.
The personal appearance by the president will come just days before the Aug. 7 special election in which voters in the 12th Congressional District will decide which of three candidates in the race will serve the remainder of the unexpired term of Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa, that expires Jan. 3. Tiberi retired from Congress in January to accept the position as head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.
On Wednesday, Balderson’s campaign manager, Jenna Knepper, reached out to The Gazette on Balderson’s behalf.
“Troy is honored to have President Trump in Delaware County on Saturday to remind people to vote on Aug. 7 and is proud to be endorsed by President Trump, Vice President Pence, Gov. John Kasich and former Congressman Pat Tiberi,” she said. “Troy has a proven record of cutting taxes, balancing budgets and fighting for the middle class, and he will work with the president to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent, something dishonest Danny O’Connor refuses to do.”
Balderson’s opposition for the 12th Congressional District is Danny O’Connor, D-Columbus, and Joe Manchik, G-Reynoldsburg. Early voting began July 10 for the special election in the district, includes Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties, and parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.
“This is Troy Balderson’s final audition for the old club of (Washington) D.C. politicians who are bought and paid for by special interests and party bosses,” said O’Connor Wednesday. “It’s clear that our grassroots campaign is surging at the right moment because central Ohio is ready for new leadership.”
In June, Balderson met with the Delaware County Republican Women’s Club at the Delaware County GOP Headquarters in downtown Delaware, where he said that he had seen the Monmouth University Poll showing that he had a 10-point lead over O’Conner.
“It’s going to happen in Delaware County,” Balderson told the Women’s Club at that time. “This is where it’s going to be, and this is where we’re going to encroach it. This is where the numbers are.”
The new Monmouth University Poll released Aug. 1 states, “Balderson the Republican has 44 percent support and O’Connor the Democrat has 43 percent support among all potential voters … Joe Manchik — the Green Party candidate who got nearly 4 percent of the vote two years ago — earns just 2 percent.”
“This race has definitely tightened in the past month. This is similar to the trend we saw in our polling of the Pennsylvania special election earlier this year. That race ended up with an electorate that looked more like a standard midterm turnout,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, Conor Lamb, won the seat by a slim margin on March 13.
On Wednesday, Delaware County Fair Manager Sandy Kuhn meet with the president’s security detail in preparation of his visit to the area.
“It’s different now that he’s president,” she said. “There’s a lot more security and stuff.”
Kuhn had met in October 2016 with the U.S. Secret Service when Trump, the Republican candidate for president at the time, held one of his campaign rallies in the Coliseum at the fairgrounds.
Kuhn said she told the Secret Service that the Coliseum holds approximately 1,500 people.
“I know they are planning an overflow area,” she said.
Other local GOP members made comments in anticipation of the president’s stop in Delaware County.
“I think it’s great that he’s coming to support Troy,” said Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Karl Gebhardt. “It’s very exciting.”
Gebhardt said he was involved with the rally Thursday in Newark with Vice President Mike Pence and Balderson.
Steve Cuckler, Delaware County GOP finance chair, said, “We’re proud to have our president here, and (we’re) looking forward to sending Troy Balderson to Congress.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.