Published On: Fri, Oct 12th, 2018

President Donald Trump to appear in Warren County tonight

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President Donald Trump is just hours away from making a campaign trail appearance in Warren County.

The Republican president is scheduled to headline a rally at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon at 7 p.m. tonight, but crowds are already forming long lines in hopes of a front-row view.

Hundreds of rallygoers queued down the fairground’s long gravel racetrack leading to the Secret Service checkpoint. One-by-one, they filed in to the open-air pavilion. Two yellow Caterpillar excavators hoisted an American flag behind the U.S. president’s iconic blue podium. In a drastic change from the high temperatures of the week’s beginning, those in attendance bundled up in jackets and, on some attendees, gloves and scarves.

“I am really surprised we can fit this many people in our little town,” Lebanon resident Sheila Gabbard said as she walked along the track leading to the rally area entrance.

»MORE: Sheriff offers advice for President Trump’s Warren County rally

 

Kyle Hartman spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Warren County Fairgrounds to be the first in line today. STAFF PHOTO / JIM OTTE
(Staff Writer)

Kyle Hartman of Canal Winchester was the first in line. He spent the night on the sidewalk in front of the fairgrounds. He was late to a rally at Olentangy High School in Delaware County several months ago and couldn’t get in.

“That upset me a little bit,” Hartman said. I wanted to make sure that I was going to make it, number one. And number two, I thought it would be really cool to be up front. I have a lot of respect for this President.”

Luke Clifford, who works for an equipment company in Franklin, said he will vote straight Republican down this November’s ballot. He voted for the president in 2016 and remains pleased with his performance in office.

“I like pretty much everything he’s done,” Clifford said. “It’s time we had a president that, whatever he said on the campaign trail, he’s actually getting done. It never seems to happen, and he’s doing it.”

Miamisburg resident Alex Gambone also said she thinks Trump is a president for the people.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have another opportunity to see another President again in my lifetime where I actually want to go. So this was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.

Warren County is a GOP stronghold, where Trump won two out of every three votes in 2016, according to the Associated Press.

»RELATED:Dayton-area Whole Foods Market first in Ohio to offer grocery pickup

The 1st Congressional District, which covers parts of Hamilton and Warren counties, is one of the tightest races in the state. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, is in a close race with Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, a Cincinnati Democrat.

The stop is part of a 10-day, six-state campaigning trip to drum up support for Republicans in tight U.S. House races.

Linda Cordonnier of Celina said President Donald Trump is “the best CEO of the country.” STAFF PHOTO / JIM OTTE
(Staff Writer)

“I had a to see Mr. Trump, our President. He is the best CEO of the country. And we needed a businessman to make this country work again,” said Linda Cordonnier of Celina. She was also near the front of the line at the fairgrounds, holding a copy of Trump’s book “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” She hopes to be close enough for the president to sign it.

Democrats also plan to counter the rally today with one of their own south of the Trump rally site.

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, “He’s not really talking about the issues of hard-working Americans. When you think about what most everyday people want, they want to work and want to make enough money to pay their bills and maybe have a little money saved so they can do things with their families.”

The rally begins at 7 p.m. tonight. STAFF PHOTO / JIM OTTE
(Staff Writer)

»RELATED: Home Chef meal kits now on shelves at local Kroger stores

“I think what Trump and his folks are doing is only speaking to his base,” said Beatty. “He’s going where he thinks it’s safe, he’s going where he thinks he can take their propaganda and get excitement and rally it up.”

Philadelphia resident Phil Heck considers himself a “groupie,” with this being his 15th rally since June. During the past several months, he’s met a lot of nice people, he said, but he’s also run into some angry crowds that wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential race.

A live stream of the event will be available on WHIO and the Ohio Politics Facebook page.

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