Super Tuesday: Mitt Romney woos blue-collar voters in Ohio
Mitt Romney is locked in a tight GOP primary battle with Rick Santorum for Ohio, perhaps the biggest prize on Super Tuesday. On Monday he campaigned in blue-collar Youngstown.
The day before Super Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney brought his message of job-creation and increased prosperity to a part of the state that doesn’t see many Republicans.Skip to next paragraph
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After courting a wealthier constituency in the Republican stronghold of Cincinnati over the weekend, Mr. Romney campaigned Monday in Youngstown, an embattled blue-collar city in dire economic straits that is trying to crawl back after decades of population loss and other forms of decline associated with the fading steel industry.
Among the 10 states holding presidential primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, Ohio, with 66 delegates at stake and expected to be a swing state in the general election in the fall, is perhaps the most sought-after prize. On the eve of the primary Mr. Romney was locked in a tight battle with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has shown strength among blue-collar voters.
At a town hall meeting of factory workers and others held at manufacturing plant in Youngstown, Romney declared Monday that if he wins Ohio, he’ll get his party’s nomination.
“My message to Mahoning Valley is pretty straightforward: I want to bring good jobs back here. I want to see rising incomes again,” he said, referring to the surrounding region.
After securing a victory in his home state of Michigan last week, Romney is casting his eyes on Ohio, a state that – in several ways – mirrors the manufacturing profile of its neighbor. Not only is the United Auto Workers alive and well here – G.M.’s Lordstown Assembly Plant is the largest employer in the region and is located down the road from where Romney was speaking – but the area is also home to many suppliers that directly service the Detroit industry.
“The auto industry is just as important in Ohio as it is in Michigan,” says Paul Allen Beck, a political scientist at Ohio State University in Columbus. “It’s the second leading state in terms of automotive employment in the country, so [manufacturing] is become an important issue here.”
Polls show Romney and Mr. Santorum in a tight race. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Romney and Santorum polling at 34 percent and 31 percent respectively while another poll by Suffolk University in Boston, also released Monday, shows Santorum at 37 percent and Romney at 33 percent.