Moderate Republicans in tough spot with Trump

The Journal-News reached out to several members of the Butler County GOP about the fundraiser — where admission will cost $2,700 a person, and a sit-down round-table discussion, with photo, will cost $25,000 — in Cincinnati, but the few that responded said they’re not planning to attend either because of the cost or scheduling.

Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix, who’s a Butler County delegate for the Republican National Convention later this month, didn’t have a solid reason why she’s choosing not to attend.

“I’m probably going to be sitting this (event) out,” she said.

Many moderate Republicans aren’t pleased that Trump is the party’s presumptive nominee, and want to distance themselves — such as Ohio Sen. Shannon Jones, who resigned as a convention delegate.

But many party loyalists are supporting Trump because they view Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, as a worse choice.

“In politics when you are faced with two unpleasant options, ideally what you want is to have no one pay attention to what side you choose,” University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven told our news partner WCPO 9 On Your Side. “Just try to be quiet about it and see if you can survive personally, regardless of how things turn out.”

The Cincinnati fundraiser comes on the heels of an RNC request for Trump to start raising funds from large donors.

Federal campaign reports released last month showed Trump lagging behind Clinton with cash on-hand. Trump started June with $1.3 million while Clinton had $42 million. Until the RNC request, the flamboyant New York billionaire’s presidential bid had largely been a self-financed effort.

Trump’s visit to Cincinnati comes a week after his visit in eastern Ohio and after Clinton made a campaign stop at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

Miami University Hamilton political science professor John Forren said Trump’s repeat Ohio visit “is a sign” his campaign is becoming more organized for a traditional general election race.

“It is quite conventional for a general election candidate to spend a lot of time in Ohio – one of just a handful of truly competitive states in recent presidential elections,” Forren said. “In that sense, it is not Trump’s recent attention to Ohio that is surprising so much as his lack of attention to the state until just recently.”

While this would be Trump’s second visit in as many weeks to the Buckeye State, and third since his West Chester Twp. visit, Clinton’s made four trips — including last week’s campaign stop with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — since May. Clinton has hit the state’s Big C’s – Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — all in June.

Forren said Republican Party leaders have been concerned about the Trump campaign’s lack of attention until recently to the traditional basics of presidential campaigns, such as fundraising, staffing of the national and state-level campaigns, and data collection and get-out-the-vote efforts

“Ohio remains as important as ever in presidential elections. It is difficult at this point to see how Trump has a viable path to the White House without a win in Ohio,” Forren said. “So, perhaps his recent attention to Ohio reflects the increased professionalization of his campaign and the realization that it’s time for his campaign to become more traditional in some basic respects.”

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