The news from Donald Trump’s campaign Friday about the launch of 15 regional field offices in Ohio sounds great until it’s paired with where Mitt Romney was at this point four years ago and how far ahead Hillary Clinton’s campaign is now.
The Trump campaign’s 15 field offices will coordinate with the hub headquarters office in Columbus, but not included is an office in Hamilton County, a key county that voted for President Obama twice but historically supports Republican candidates like Senator Rob Portman, who Congressional district was there, or Robert Taft, a twice-elected Republican governor with deep family roots there.
Trump Ohio campaign manager Bob Paduchik said it’s all going great. “The Trump-Pence campaign has all the staffing and resources we need to win in Ohio, and we are reaching out beyond the Republican base to independents and disaffected Democrats,” he said in a statement.
Other Republican operatives and consultants are less kind in their opinion that Donald Trump may have wasted his first months as the presumptive nominee. Republican activists have been dismayed by the lack of a Trump organization, as many Ohio operatives have refused to work for him. The Ohio Republican Party had allegedly lined up two experienced campaign operatives to help coordinate the party’s get-out-the-vote efforts with Trump’s small campaign in Ohio, but Trump’s on-going feud with John Kasich and his campaign chief has jeopardized the plan.
Of further concern to the Trump Train is that it’s relying on the state Republican Party’s field efforts, but that’s a problem since the state party is aligned with Gov. John Kasich, who beat Trump in Ohio in March and has maintained a hostile relationship ever since. With 75 percent fewer staff than expected, the Ohio GOP is already behind the resources from Camp Clinton and the Ohio Democratic Party. One published report said GOP sources say there are “ground game issues in Ohio.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been back to Ohio four times since the state’s primary with a 5th scheduled for next Wednesday in Cleveland to further bash the Donald for not releasing his tax returns as Mrs. Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and his wife did last week.
In his second visit in two weeks, this one on Monday at Youngstown State University, one county GOP chairman said Donald Trump will deliver a major foreign policy address.
Trump lagging in campaign offices is bad enough that Sen. Portman sends volunteers to Clinton events to pass out his flyers. Portman has endorsed the Donald but refuses to be seen with him, which is smart politics since polls show the more Portman aligns with Trump the worse he does against his Democratic rival Ted Strickland. As Donald Trump loses steam in Ohio and other key battleground states as polls show is happening, a no-show Portman at future Trump events will be standard fare. Mitt Romney was ahead in 2012 in campaign operations compared to where Trump is today.
It’s also no surprise that Donald Trump isn’t working well with local Republicans like he’s not working well with state GOP officials. Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe didn’t know beforehand about Trump’s visit, saying the Trump campaign operates autonomous from local campaigns. Then last week, the Enquirer reported that Trump supporters, frustrated by the lack of infrastructure in their area, set up their own Trump headquarters in a small house. The campaign tried to spin this as an “enthusiastic” positive but it clearly wasn’t. Moreover, the campaign has yet to find or appoint key local leaders or open a campaign office in Hamilton County and isn’t yet sure which Hamilton County Republican party’s central committee members are allied with the Republican presidential nominee. “If they are against us, we just need to know,” Missy Mae Walters, Southwest Ohio regional coordinator for the campaign, wrote.
Hillary Clinton supporters, meanwhile, have 20 offices open and fully operational throughout the state as the campaign builds on Mrs. Clinton’s organizing advantage in the Buckeye State. Collectively, Clinton state director Chris Wyant said volunteer efforts have produced 4,441 hours and more than six months worth of training. “It is a reflection of both the breadth of our organization here, as well as the seriousness with which we view the work they are doing,” she said.