DeSantis, Trump Jr. to stump locally

Two prominent Republicans — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the former president — are coming to the Mahoning Valley later this month in separate appearances to campaign for GOP candidates.

DeSantis, considered a leading potential 2024 presidential candidate, will be at Blue Wolf Events at the Maronite Center, 1555 S. Meridian Road, Youngstown, on Aug. 19 to campaign for J.D. Vance, the Republican nominee for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat.

The event is free with doors opening at 6 p.m. with Vance scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. and DeSantis at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on the eventbrite.com website by searching for “J.D. Vance.”

Meanwhile, Trump will appear at an Aug. 22 fundraiser at the Eastwood Event Centre, 5577 Youngstown Warren Road in Niles, for state Rep. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, who is running in the 65th Ohio House District.

Former President Donald Trump has openly discussed running for president again in 2024 and remains popular among Republicans. His eldest son was a top surrogate for his father during his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns and had a rally in Youngstown about a week before the 2020 general election.

Trump won Ohio by about 8 percent in the last two elections, but the state has long been considered a key battleground state for the presidency.

The Loychik-Trump event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 each with $4.06 in fees and can be obtained at eventbrite.com by searching for “Mike Loychik.”


DeSantis is campaigning Sunday for Republican candidates in New Mexico and Arizona and then Aug. 19 in Pittsburgh for Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor, followed by the Youngstown rally for Vance. The visits are sponsored by Turning Point Action, a politically conservative organization.

In particular, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio are important states in a presidential bid.

Vance, a venture capitalist and author, is running against U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, a 10-term congressman and the Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat. Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, chose not to seek re-election.

Vance said Monday, “Ohioans are sick of (President) Joe Biden and Tim Ryan’s betrayal: They raised taxes on the working and middle class, ruined the U.S. economy and are forcing their far-left wokeness on the rest of us.”

He also said he was looking forward to having DeSantis in the state “to rally Ohioans to a red wave in November.”

The rally is in Youngstown, which is in Ryan’s congressional district.

Polls show a tight race between Vance and Ryan with the Democrat raising significantly more money in a Republican-controlled state. There is also a lot of outside spending in this race.

Izzi Levy, Ryan’s spokeswoman, said, “San Francisco fraud J.D. Vance’s last visit to Ohio went so poorly that after leaving the state yet again last week to campaign in Texas, Vance is bringing his out-of-state friends back to the Buckeye State in a desperate attempt to clean up his mess of a campaign.”

Vance spoke Friday in Dallas at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a major annual political conservative conference.

It’s a sort of homecoming for DeSantis as both sides of his family are from Mahoning County.

His maternal grandfather, Phil Rogers, was Mahoning County Republican Party chairman in the late 1960s to the early 1970s and worked at Youngstown State University as an administrator. He died in 1997.

DeSantis’ uncle, the Rev. Philip Rogers, moved last week to lead Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers after spending years at St. Charles Borromeo Parish Catholic Church.

DeSantis’ parents left Mahoning County in the early 1970s and moved to Florida. He was born in 1978 in Florida.

“We’re so excited to have this event here,” Tom McCabe, Mahoning County Republican Party chairman, said. “Of all the places they could have gone, they chose to come here. We’ve had numerous people calling and texting. It will be a packed house. It’s probably the most popular governor in the country coming to Youngstown.”

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Christopher Anderson sees DeSantis differently, saying he “embodies the very worst of what politics is about. He creates culture wars. He doesn’t represent what most Americans represent, and J.D. Vance is tying himself to him though I’m not surprised.”


Trump’s son last campaigned in the Mahoning Valley on Oct. 26, 2020, at the Blue Wolf location, where DeSantis is scheduled to speak for Vance.

He headlined a rally in the final days leading to his father’s unsuccessful presidential re-election bid.

At that rally, Trump said his father, Donald Trump, is “someone willing to fight, who’s willing to take on the establishment.”

He called Biden “likely the most corrupt person to ever run for office in the United States, let along the presidency.”

Loychik last week defeated Randy Law of Warren Township, a former state representative, 70.7 percent to 29.3 percent in the Republican primary for the 65th Ohio House District.

Loychik is seeking his second two-year term in the state House.

The district takes in large parts of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and favors Republicans by about 23 percent based on partisan statewide voting trends during the past decade.

Jennifer Donnelly of Cortland, a political newcomer, turned in nominating petitions Aug. 1, the day before the primary, to run as an independent. No Democrats filed for the seat.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections is scheduled to meet 9 a.m. Aug. 19 to consider certifying Donnelly’s petitions, said Stephanie Penrose, its director.

While board employees haven’t checked Donnelly’s petitions to determine if she has enough valid signatures, Penrose said there are no other issues with the documents that would stop the board from certifying her.

Loychik said last week that he intended to file a legal challenge to Donnelly’s nominating petitions, her residency and her separation from the Democratic Party.

Under state law, a person is considered to be a member of a political party if he or she is a party officer and / or voted in that party’s primary within the preceding two years. Donnelly last voted in a Democratic primary in 2016.

However, most of the time, boards of elections consider candidates to not be affiliated with a political party as long as they are not officers in the party at the time they file and don’t vote in a partisan primary after filing.

As of Monday, Loychik had not submitted a challenge.

He has until Aug. 26 to file an objection with the board of elections, Penrose said.


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