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Despite Accusations, Trump Rules in Western Pa.

Image: Despite Accusations, Trump Rules in Western Pa.

(Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 11:40 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Despite the salacious accusations that Donald Trump made unwanted advances to five different women, Republicans in Fayette County, Pa., made clear they were all about backing their party's nominee for president.

This strong show of support and enthusiasm for the embattled Trump came at a GOP dinner at storied Caporella's Restaurant in Uniontown, one of the major hubs of Fayette County. What made their views especially poignant is that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 here, and unions still pack a political punch as well.

"But all that is changing very rapidly," GOP Chairman Dave Show told me. "Look, this is coal mining country and the coal industry is very depressed. Hillary Clinton's statements that she wants to 'regulate them all out of business" scare voters and the unions — United Mine Workers, Teamsters, and others — just can't tell their members how to vote anymore."

Show also noted that union membership drops every year, that younger voters are not joining unions and "this helps Republicans." Since January, he pointed out, "the number of registered Democrats in Fayette dropped from 80,000 to 74,000 and the number of Republican voters has risen from 22,000 to 30,000." When we asked if Trump was the key reason for these changes in registration, he replied without hesitation: "Yes."

A sure sign that Democrats are growing nervous about a part of the Keystone State they formerly took for granted was the appearance here two weeks ago by none other than Bill Clinton.

"Since the tape [of Trump making crude remarks eleven years ago about women to Billy Bush, then co-host of 'Access Hollywood'], Trump has actually gotten stronger here," said Show, a supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination. "Folks here have a desire for a candidate who is 'not one of them' — the political establishment — and when the establishment goes after Trump, they relate to him even more."

"I worked in coal mines for 39 years and I heard talk like this all the time," Greg Crash, one of the guests at Caporella's, told me. "And I don't care."

Crash's wife Melany recalled her career as a nurse "and doctors groped me all the time and talked a lot worse than Trump. I look at the big picture, and I don't want Hillary as president."

"The Trump momentum is incredible here," said visiting speaker and state Sen. Scott Wagner from York. "I don't like some of the things he's said . . . but now we're going to win 60 to 65 percent of the vote in counties such as Fayette, and if the turnout is low in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, we'll carry Pennsylvania."

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John-Gizzi
Despite the salacious accusations that Donald Trump made unwanted advances to five different women, Republicans in Fayette County, Pa., made clear they were all about backing their party's nominee for president.
trump, pennsylvania, billy bush, hillary
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2016-40-13
Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 11:40 AM
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