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Area Republicans Attend Trump Rally
(Pictured, left to right: Sam Breene, Venango County State Committeeman; Martha Breene, Venango County Chair; and Chad Horner, Jefferson County Chair)
Though President Trump is ostensibly stumping for Lou Barletta, the Republican nominee challenging incumbent Bob Casey for the U.S. Senate, Venango County Republican Chairperson Martha Breene noted the President is also offering public support for U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly who is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Ron DiNicola, of Erie.
“Of course he’s supporting Barletta, but he’s really coming here for Mike Kelly,” Breene said.
The rally, which drew a considerable crowd, attracted the attention of many local Republicans, according to Breene.
“I have had so many messages on Facebook I can’t even count them,” she noted.
“I wish we’d have been able to get a bus, but it was all so fast. I put a call in, but we just couldn’t put it all together that fast.”
(Photo by Don Niederriter)
Chad Horner, Jefferson County’s Republican Chairman, was also in attendance, having planned ahead to meet Breene and her son Sam, the State Committeeman for Venango County, at the venue and attend the event together.
“I’ve been to quite a few rallies for other candidates, but this is the first Trump rally I’ve had the pleasure of attending so I’m quite excited,” Horner said.
Rick Rathfon, Republican Party Chairman in Clarion County, had also hoped to attend but was unable to do so due to a scheduling conflict.
“Our State Committee-person, Nancy Banner, attended, as well as my nephew and his wife and some younger folks from the Clarion University College Republicans,” Rathfon said.
Rathfon noted that one of the College Republicans who attended, Lexis Twentier, has been particularly active both on campus and in the community, helping at the new Clarion County Republican Headquarters and during the recent Autumn Leaf Festival.
Twentier, who says she has always had a special interest in politics, looked forward to the supporting the President and the other candidates in Erie.
“I’m really excited for it. I don’t really know what to expect, but it’s definitely going to be an experience,” Twentier said prior to the event.
Don and Ruth Niederriter, of Shippenville, were also in attendance and were able to get a photo with GOP Senate Candidate Lou Barletta (pictured below in the middle).
Representative Glenn (G.T.) Thompson of Pennsylvania’s Fifth District was also in attendance.
President Donald Trump opened the rally by offering thoughts and prayers to those in the path of Hurricane Michael, promising a speedy response for those affected.
“We know when Americans face hardship we support each other, we stand with each other, we care for each other and we will always pull through,” he said.
He went on to tout the achievements of his current administration, noting how instrumental Pennsylvania voters were in the previous election and pressing on to how vital the coming election will be.
“This election is about your families, your values, and what kind of country you want to leave for your children. This election is about keeping America safe, keeping America strong, keeping America proud, keeping America free,” the president said.
The President then spoke at length, urging the audience to support U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly of the 16th Congressional District against Democrat and Erie lawyer Ron DiNicola; as well as U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, who is facing incumbent Democrat Bob Casey in the race for the U.S. Senate; and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner, who is attempting to unseat Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s bid for a reelection.
Though many area Republicans mobilized for the big event, their opposition was out in force as well. According to GoErie.com, between three and four hundred protesters stood on the four corners of the intersection of 10th and State Streets in downtown Erie on Wednesday evening.
Democratic state officials may not have attended protests, but their opposition was openly visible online.
Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Wertz also encouraged mobilization, not only on Wednesday evening, but also working toward the upcoming election, in a statement:
“It’s time to elect Ron DiNicola to Congress, and to send Senator Bob Casey back to Washington because together they will protect the rights of working people, together they will stand up for the rights of New Americans, and together they will reinvest in our industry and our infrastructure. Together they will work for and defend Our Erie because they know Our Erie.”
The full statement can be read here.
President Trump returned to the White House on Wednesday evening ahead of a busy Thursday schedule that includes two congressional bill-signing ceremonies and an interagency task force meeting focused on human trafficking.
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