ADSWORTH: You couldn’t blame this small Medina County city if it felt like the center of the Republican Party universe at times late into this election season.
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, accompanied by GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, and other Republican candidates, spoke Sunday afternoon outside a plaza at Weatherstone Drive and state Route 94, site of the GOP’s campaign headquarters.
The visit by Boehner, R-West Chester (the congressional district is in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas) followed Thursday’s trip to Wadsworth and its nearly 22,000 residents by Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Not surprisingly, Boehner, as part of a stump speech criticizing the Obama administration and asking for Republican support, also urged the crowd of about 200 people to encourage others to vote on Tuesday in what polls suggest will be extremely close national elections. Ohio is widely seen as critical by President Barack Obama and Romney; each candidate has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks. Mandel and Renacci, a former mayor of Wadsworth, are in two of the nation’s most hotly contested races as well.
Members of the crowd who braved Sunday’s chilly and gray weather said they liked being able to see firsthand part of a national campaign.
“It’s good for the city,” said 57-year-old Bill Senger, who has lived in Wadsworth since 1999. “As far as I’m concerned, the country is made up of towns like Wadsworth, not [cities like] Cleveland and New York City.”
Dave Black, 77, a former Wadsworth city councilman who said the first president he voted for was Dwight D. Eisenhower, said he was looking forward to listening to Boehner and the others.
“We’re enjoying the publicity,” Black said. “We’re big enough that they’re coming here. ... I’m just enjoying having them come here.”
Norman Brague, Wadsworth’s director of law and a city resident since 1959, said the visits by national politicians to the city this year are unusual.
“I think it’s good,” he said. “It means the people of our city are having a significant impact on the future direction of our country.”
It’s also good that national politicians “are paying attention to places like Wadsworth,” Brague said.
Having Boehner, second in line of succession to the president, come to Wadsworth “is a very big deal for this part of Ohio,” said Irene Lawrence, a Sharon Center resident.
Dr. Adrian Dan, a surgeon with Summa Health System and co-owner of a small business with his wife, came to the rally from Sharon Center. This was the first local event they’ve been to that drew politicians of national stature, he said.
“I was born in Romania under communism,” Dan said. “There’s no incentive to be an individual, to be an entrepreneur, to be successful. … Now I see small businesses drowned by regulations. My ability as a doctor is affected.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.