Thousands of supporters for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump came to see the billionaire as he stumped in Ohio for the second time in as many weeks.
The lines to get into the Sharonville Convention Center in northern Cincinnati started at around 1 a.m. Wednesday — and Trump said he’ll be here in Ohio “many, many times” from now until the General Election, which illustrates the importance of Ohio this election.
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There’s speculation that Trump may have brought his vice presidential nominee to Cincinnati — just as there was similar VP speculation last week when presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton brought Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to a Cincinnati rally. And though Trump is still vetting vice presidential choices, he didn’t calm the speculation about Gingrich being his pick.
Trump, who came out on stage about a half hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. start time, teased the crowd saying he “won’t commit” to anything yet but “in one form or another Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government.”
That prompted the crowd to chant “Newt.”
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He later joked about having Clinton’s may Democratic presidential primary rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as a vice president, but that brought on a chorus of “boos.” Trump maintains many Sanders supporters will vote for him in November.
But many supporters at the Sharonville rally want to see a Trump-Gingrich ticket.
Former Fairfield vice mayor Marty Judd arrived in line a few hours before the doors opened. He’s showing his support because “he believes the exact same things that I do.”
And Judd hopes Gingrich is Trump’s choice.
“Newt’s a good man, and I hope he runs with Donald,” he said about the man who became speaker of the House in 1994 and was the architect of the Contract With America.
That’s what Pearl Allen, of Hamilton concluded, too.
“It looks like Newt’s a pretty good candidate,” she said.
But not all want to see Gingrich on the ticket.
“I would rather have a VP that brings in people that wasn’t already supporting Trump,” said Clay Robinson, of Petersburg, Ky.. “I feel like the people who support Newt Gingrich already support Trump so I would like to reach out a little more.”
Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state in President George W. Bush’s second term, has been a popular choice among Trump supporters.
But Terri Schoch, of Cincinnati, said she wants Gingrich because “it would make the ticket a lot stronger, which is what we need.” She’s not in support of a female vice presidential candidate.
“I hope he doesn’t go with a woman,” Schoch said. “I hope he keeps it strong with a man.”
Miami University Hamilton political science professor John Forren said it appears Trump’s campaign is developing into a traditional campaign, including holding major donor fundraisers like the one prior to the Sharonville event.
But even with his push in Ohio, Forren said, “Trump’s campaign is still behind the Clinton campaign in the Buckeye State both in terms of levels of campaign staff on the ground and in their relative levels of presence on the airwaves in campaign commercials.”
He said from June to August “is absolutely critical for candidates” when they can define themselves to voters, and define their opponents, as well.
“Clinton has a big head start on Trump in Ohio,” Forren said. “It’s not too late for Trump to catch up — but the window of opportunity is closing fast, I think.”
The back-to-back trips to Ohio were Trump’s first since he campaigned in Dayton and West Chester Twp. just days before the presidential primary in March. Clinton’s been to Ohio four times since May — three of those times being in June. Clinton aides have said it’s anticipated she’ll be back multiple times.
But supporters are positive Trump will win in November, no matter who he picks as to join his ticket.
“We need a businessman, someone that can straighten this country out,” said George Dunckley, of Walton, Ky. “I’m tired of all the rhetoric in Washington. It’s about time we have a real change. We need a change right now.”
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