With the Nov. 6 general election just days away, Delaware County Republican Party volunteers gathered to receive motivational inspiration from GOP candidates in the classic style of great coaches before leaving to knock on doors to get out the vote.
On a cold, rainy Saturday, volunteers huddled in the Delaware County Republican Party headquarters in downtown Delaware to receive that inspiration from Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, state Rep. Frank LaRosa, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Congressman Troy Balderson, former Congressman Pat Tiberi, and Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee Bob Paduchik, who acted as master of ceremony.
During a visit with the Delaware County Women’s Club in June, Balderson said, “It’s going to happen in Delaware County. This is where it’s going to be, and this is where we’re going to encroach it. This is where the numbers are.”
Before sending volunteers off into the rain to knock on doors, Balderson reiterated the importance of Delaware County voters: “This is the critical county. I’ve said that from the get-go. I need all of you to get out to hit the doors today, with us, join us, to tell your friends, your neighbors, this all about getting Republicans out to vote.”
Balderson added with the group’s help, they will get all candidates “across the line.”
Husted’s approach was about the difference in winning and losing.
“We are in an election where every single one of us could win or every single one of us could lose based on what happens in the next 10 days,” Husted told the group that gathered to support the GOP candidates on Saturday. “That rain out there, that is the damper on the day. Do you think the Democrats are going to knock on as many doors as you will?”
“No!” shouted the crowd.
Husted is the GOP nominee for lieutenant gubernatorial and running mate of gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine, Ohio attorney general.
LaRosa, GOP nominee for Ohio secretary of state, said he hoped the fire inspector was Republican “because we’ve got the placed packed.”
LaRosa put all joking aside and told the crowd that Delaware County is the center of the storm.
“Delaware County is where this election will be won,” he said. “It’s going to be won or lost here in Delaware County. It may seem trivial, you standing on one front porch talking to one voter. I can assure you that’s not trivial.”
LaRosa said his passion for fair, secure elections began on the battlefield.
“This is something I take very seriously,” he said. “When you’ve seen men and women defy the threats of terrorism to cast a vote, to do something that too many of us take for granted, is something (I’ll) never forget.”
LaRosa said there is a saying in the Army, “If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training.” He then turned it around.
“If it’s raining, we’re campaigning,” he said. “Let’s get out there and get it done.”
Tiberi said that the candidates that stood and addressed the crowd were “the best” and “working their tails off.” He said while the jobs they seek are an honor and privilege, they “are tough jobs.”
“We are so lucky to attract such good people to do these jobs,” Tiberi added.
Tiberi said once all the TV ads are put aside, the election is about fundamental differences. He said the election is about the two different visions.
“This is about one fundamental issue,” he said. “Are we going to elect people … that represent our values? It drives me crazy when these guys and gals on the other side of the aisle attack our policies that have contributed to the best economy we’ve seen in years.”
Tiberi encouraged the volunteers to talk to their friends about the economy.
“They want to control the (economy),” he said. “We want you to control the (economy).”
Portman told the group of volunteers that it will only happen because of all the volunteers out there working as hard as they can over the next week.
“The Democrats talked about a blue wave. Folks, there is a red ripple, and it’s coming,” he said. “Delaware County … this is where it’s at. This is where elections are decided in Ohio, counties like this.”
Portman said the tax cuts for the middle class and small business “that are helping Ohio right now” are up for renewal. He asked if the cuts should be renewed.
“It’s no if we (Republicans) lose the majority,” he said. “You have to vote to continue the tax cuts. That’s the simplest one, but there are a whole bunch more.”
Other candidates in attendance but not heard from included state Rep. Andrew Brenner, candidate for Ohio Senate District 19; Delaware County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew King, candidate for Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals judge; Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis, running for re-election as commissioner; Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa, running for re-election as county auditor.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.