President Donald Trump defeated Joe Biden in Ohio Tuesday, holding onto 18 electoral votes in a state that was critical to his 2016 victory.
Ohio was a central battleground state for a century, but some Democrats wrote it off citing challenging demographics and Trump’s easy win there in 2016. But polls this year showed Ohio to be one of the nation’s closest states.
No Republican has won the White House without picking up Ohio’s electoral votes, and Trump made sure to visit the state leading up to Election Day. He held a rally in Circleville, just south of Columbus, on Oct. 24, and his campaign worked to hang on to support from white working-class voters who were critical to his 2016 victory.
Trump reprised his 2016 campaign themes on trade to attack Biden, arguing that his support for deals like NAFTA had hurt manufacturing workers.
Yet the president’s response to the pandemic was cited as a top issue by voters, and Ohio’s Covid-19 caseload surged in recent weeks. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has urged residents to get “serious” about taking precautions in order to try and control the spread. Biden argued to voters that Trump’s handling of coronavirus had damaged the economy, with many remaining out of work due to the pandemic.
Biden targeted Ohio as part of the campaign’s Midwest push, hoping to peel away support from Trump’s base and increase turnout among Black voters. His campaign made bigger TV advertising investments in Ohio as the polls ticked toward him over the summer and fall.
Biden also earned the support of former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of Trump’s opponents in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.
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