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Ohio May Not See Presidential Candidates Visit As Often This Election

Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, on March 10, 2020.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU
Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, on March 10, 2020.

Labor Day usually marks the point when presidential candidates ramp up their campaigning, but neither  President Trump nor Joe Biden have finalized their itineraries for in-person events. Trump has already come to Ohio a few times this summer, while Biden hasn't been campaigning much in person anywhere.

Biden has told reporters he’s going to start in-person campaigning in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Arizona after Labor Day. But Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper says Biden will eventually come to Ohio, even if it isn’t among the first few stops. 

“I wouldn’t over-read it," Pepper says. "We are right where we need to be in Ohio with 65 or so days to go."

Biden and Trump will come to Cleveland for the first presidential debate on September 29, which will be hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic.

The Democratic nominee last came to Ohio just before the primary election in March, with a stop in Columbus focused around gun violence, but canceled most of his subsequent in-person events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s staff says his concerns about crowds and COVID-19 have led him to more virtual campaigning. This summer, Biden and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) spoke at the Ohio Democratic Party's virtual convention, while Biden's campaign hosted a number of online events featuring Democratic officials.

Dan Lusheck with the Trump campaign says his is the strongest infrastructure in Ohio history.

“The enthusiasm that we are seeing from our supporters is unprecedented," Luscheck says.

Trump stopped through Ohio last month to visit the Whirlpool washing machine factory in Clyde, before hosting a fundraiser in Bratenahl.

Ohio has traditionally been considered a battleground state. While Trump won Ohio by 8 points in 2016, recent polls show the race is tighter this time around. A Morning Consult poll this week shows the president leading Biden 50-45% among likely Ohio voters, while polls from before the political conventions showed Biden with a slight lead.