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Pepper says Ohio could end Trump presidency

Pepper says Ohio could end Trump presidency

9/11/2019 6:28 PM

Tom Jackson
Staff Reporter

SANDUSKY — The Democratic Party’s decision to hold a presidential debate in Ohio next month recognizes Ohio is in play in the next presidential election, said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

“If we are blue next November, the Trump presidency is over,” Pepper said.
Pepper discussed Ohio politics during an appearance Wednesday on “Between the Lines Live,” the Register’s public affairs program. The 20-minute interview is available for on-demand viewing at the Register’s website and YouTube channel.

"Having the debate here is a sign the Democratic Party is playing offense,” Pepper said.
Recent elections and polls show that suburban voters, especially women, are moving away from Trump and toward the Democratic Party, Pepper said.

“With that seismic shift, Ohio is very much up for grabs,” he said.

The Democratic debate in Ohio apparently will take place Oct. 15-16 and likely will feature 11 candidates unless one drops out. More details such as a location and a major media partner will be announced shortly after Thursday’s presidential debate in Houston.

Asked about reports the debates might be in Youngstown or Dayton, Pepper said both are “very worthy” but said such reports are “speculation.”

Many of those details will be up to the media partner and the Democratic National Committee and will be decided such as finding a venue big enough to accommodate the debate for two nights, Pepper said. He said Ohio Democrats don’t expect to have a big say.

“We were very, very aggressive about asking for it to be here. When I say ‘we’ I mean me,” he told program host Matt Westerhold. “Our number one role was to say, ‘Get it to Ohio’.”

Pepper said the election next year in Ohio has the potential to make Trump a one-term president but it also could be the election that ends gerrymandering.

Republicans won the race for governor and other statewide races last year, such as attorney general and secretary of state. They also held all 12 of their U.S. House seats, with Democrats retaining four.

But Pepper said 2018 was a good year in many ways for Democrats. Sherrod Brown’s seven-point victory in winning re-election to the U.S. Senate shows how Democrats can carry Ohio, six seats in the Ohio House were flipped to the Democratic side, and Democrats won two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court.

If Democrats win two more seats on the Ohio Supreme Court next year, they can take control, a move that will help end gerrymandering, he said. Jennifer Brunner, a former Democratic secretary of state, has announced she will run for the Ohio Supreme Court next year, Pepper said.

Pepper said Ohio remains a swing state, not a Republican state. In races for the Ohio House last year, the number of votes cast for Democrats vs. Republicans was virtually a tie, he said.

Pepper said ending gerrymandering — the practice of drawing U.S. House districts to favor one party or the other — would fix much of what’s wrong with politics in the U.S. As it stands, many politicians in the House don’t have to worry about re-election no matter how bad they are, he said.

With fair districts, “politicians have to compete for both sides,” he said.

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