COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Strong Action, a super PAC, is preparing for the 2020 election. The organization, chaired by former U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, hosted the Ohio Strong Action 202o Vision Summit in Columbus on Tuesday.
“We have not asked for money from anyone. I have funded the launch of Ohio Strong Action to support this President and conservative, reform-minded candidates for every level of office in Ohio,” said Gibbons. “There’s an opportunity to ignite a strong grassroots operation. Enthusiastic Trump supporters are looking for opportunities to get involved.”
Many Ohio Republicans were not so enthusiastic in 2016. Former Gov. John Kasich refused to endorse Donald Trump and was a “no show” at his own party’s national convention, which was hosted in his home state.
But Kasich wasn’t the only Republican problem Trump faced in Ohio.
In Kasich’s home county, the Delaware County Republican Central Committee’s (DCRCC) commitment to Trump’s campaign was lukewarm. Kasich was the favorite there and had strong support among central committee members and career politicians like Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12).
At a DCRCC meeting in October 2016, a week before Trump was due to arrive at a rally in the city of Delaware, Matt Scheibeck, a member of the committee, made a motion for the local party to donate to Trump’s campaign.
“Two reasons,” Scheibeck shared exclusively with The Ohio Star. “I wanted to show Delaware County was behind our nominee and also reveal who was not behind him.” Scheibeck’s motion required that members stand to show their support for the motion or their opposition to it. Most of the Republican elected officials on the committee stood up against it.
“The whole fiasco behind the headquarters issue, the fact that Trump had to have his own headquarters opened in Delaware because the DCRCC would not support Trump,” he explained as his second reason for trying to out those in the party who were unsupportive. There were signs and literature for Sen. Rob Portman, but Scheibeck was told,”We don’t have anything for Trump here.”
One anonymous Trump supporter from Delaware County who helped run the Trump Action Center told The Ohio Star: “Our campaign was sabotaged. Our slate card at GOP headquarters still had Kasich on it.” The supporter also heard Trump yard signs were found in the dumpster behind the Delaware County Republican headquarters.
On October 9, Portman, Tiberi, former Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, and Kasich all publicly announced that they would not vote for the Republican nominee.
In spite of the GOP obstruction in 2016, Gibbons believes the tide has turned. “We’re working with everyone who supports the President. Ohio Strong Action will be telling the truth about the strong Trump economy. We’ll have a presence on social media and volunteers knocking doors starting later this summer.”
“We’ll be working hard to re-elect President Trump and candidates we endorse over the coming months,” noted Gibbons.
And he doesn’t think the president will be a hard sell to voters in Ohio. “Just look at what he’s done.”
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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star. Follow Beth on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mike Gibbons” by Mike Gibbons. Background Photo “Ohio Strong Action” by Ohio Strong Action.