Southeast has been a turning point in Ohio politics, though it is also the least diverse with nearly 95 percent white. Hoping for job losses and shocked by the forces of globalization and economic modernization, with a lower percentage of people with college degrees, Ohio’s Appalachian region is full of “people who are angry at the world,” said John C. Green, the emeritus director. from the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron.
As a result, Green said, the region has a “much higher tolerance for the harshness and tumult of politics” – and could be drawn to Josh Mandel, who has campaigned as much for attitude as he has on certain conservative ideas. A super PAC supporting Mandel has run ads on rural radio stations in the area attacking Vance as “a scam.”
In the 2016 Republican presidential election, the Ohio card was sharply divided between John Kasich, who was the incumbent governor at the time, and Trump, who, of course, would continue to win the Republican nomination and the presidency. Kasich won Ohio’s most populous counties on the way to carrying the state, while Trump cleaned up the Appalachians along the Ohio River.
Vances balancing act
A question that many Ohio spectators are thinking about: How will college-educated Republicans react to Vance?
Will they flow to the Yale-educated, secular investor lurking inside the angry MAGA warrior Vance has become? Or will they be repulsed by how far right he has moved to woo Trump’s base?
Vance’s schedule and advertising costs in the last few days of the race show focus on suburbs and small town areas. Since Saturday, he has been visiting Circleville, a town south of Columbus; Cuyahoga Falls, a town north of Akron; Westlake, a suburb west of Cleveland; Dublin, a northwestern suburb of Columbus; and Mason, a northeastern suburb of Cincinnati.
A super PAC that supports Vance, Protect American Values, has spent a lot on TV commercials in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati as well as Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.