Newsmakers: Presidential candidates focused on Ohio votersWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Presidential candidates made several stops in Ohio, an important battleground state in the 2012 election. President Barack Obama, the victor, and his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, visited Northwest Ohio several times.
Vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan and former President Bill Clinton also visited Toledo.
Statewide, Obama earned 50 percent of the votes, Romney earned 48 percent and Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, earned less than 1 percent. In Lucas County, Obama had 64 percent of the votes to Romney’s 34 percent and Johnson earned 1 percent.
The candidates reportedly visited Ohio more than 80 times during 2012. Johnson visited Bowling Green on Nov. 2.
Obama even spent his Labor Day in Toledo, where he praised the auto rescue and union workers during a speech at Scott High School.
About 3,100 people gathered to watch the president speak at the rally, which was part of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Labor Day Celebration.
During his 30-minute speech, Obama played up the auto rescue. Without it, General Motors Co. and Chrysler would no longer exist, he said. The president also reminded the crowd of Romney’s “Let Detroit go bankrupt” stance, which would have cost 1 million jobs, he said.
On Sept. 26, both Obama and Romney visited Northwest Ohio. Obama spoke to 5,500 about his plans for the economy, health care and education affordability at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green.
In front of about 3,500 at the SeaGate Centre, Romney outlined five major areas he would address if elected president: energy, trade, jobs, national debt and small businesses.
Although Ohio’s 18 electoral votes were heavily courted in 2012, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Ombudsman Brandi Barhite this might not always be the case.
“Every vote does count. That is for sure,” Portman said before the election. “I know people are tired of seeing TV ads. I am, too, but we do have a great opportunity.”
Ohio is also a traditional swing state, he said.
“We are not blue or red, which makes us a prime target in every presidential election year,” Portman said. “It puts us in the spotlight. If you lived in Texas or New York, you would be looking at Ohio and saying, ‘I wish I could impact the election like that.’”