Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, spoke mid-morning at an early vote canvass launch event that attracted a couple hundred supporters who showed up in the affluent Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington, this reporter’s high school Alma mater.
The Clinton-Kaine campaign knows the power that lies in early voting, and Sen. Kaine, whose time in the Peace Corps in central American enabled him to lace parts of his talk in Spanish, told the attendees that the election was in the palm of their hands with just 20 days until America decides who the 45th President of the United States will be. Delivering with an upbeat style, the man who could be the next vice president said Hillary Clinton can win without winning Ohio. Donald Trump cannot. He asked them to close the deal by winning a state that is in toss-up territory, as polls show both candidates are within the margin of error.
The second stop Wednesday for Sen. Kaine will be in Springfield, this reporter’s hometown. Sen. Kaine drilled home the point made by Robby Mook on Monday, that voter turnout for this election will be the highest in the nation’s history. With Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas for tonight’s third and final debate with Donald Trump, Kaine was on the stump for her in the Buckeye State, just like President Obama and President Bill Clinton were recently at GOTV events in Cleveland, Delaware, and Cincinnati.
Ohio has maintained its must-win state status for more than a century. But this year for Mrs. Clinton, that may not hold since she has other paths to the White House if she should lose the state. For perspective, recall that President Obama beat GOP candidate Mitt Romney in Ohio just four years ago by winning the early vote sweepstakes. This year, Ohio is joining other states like Florida where early voting is now beyond levels from 2012. Ohioans started voting early last Wednesday and turnout is outpacing 2012.
Voter turnout in Franklin County, home to state capital Columbus, is robust with more than 9,300 votes cast in person in the first four days, a 80 percent boost over the same period in 2012. Democrats have invested heavily in vote by mail efforts, and that appears to be paying off. The five Ohio counties with the largest vote by mail requests so far are Cuyahoga [home to Cleveland], Franklin, Hamilton [home to Cincinnati], Montgomery [home to Dayton] and Summit. Together they account for more than 40 percent of current ballot requests across the entire state. These five counties are likely to go for Hillary Clinton by similar or larger margins than President Obama’s 2012 results.
Watch Sen. Kaine in Upper Arlington today