County of­fi­cials weigh in on Trump’s vic­tory

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lucas Rodgers lrodgers@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Lu­casMRodgers on Twit­ter

Tues­day was a good day for Repub­li­cans in Ch­ester County, in Penn­syl­va­nia, and across the coun­try. Repub­li­can busi­ness­man Don­ald Trump pulled off a stun­ning up­set vic­tory over Demo­cratic for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, mark­ing the first time in his­tory that Amer­i­cans elected a can­di­date with no gov­ern­ment or mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence to lead as pres­i­dent of the United States. It was also the first time since 1988 that a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date won Penn­syl­va­nia.

More­over, Repub­li­cans main­tained their ma­jori­ties in both cham­bers of Congress. In­cum­bent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., de­feated Demo­cratic chal­lenger Katie McGinty, and Repub­li­cans re­tained con­trol of all three con­gres­sional districts that rep­re­sent Ch­ester County: the 6th, 7th and 16th districts.

Lo­cally, Repub­li­cans won all eight con­tested state House races, and one out of two con­tested state Se­nate races. State Sen. Andy Din­ni­man, D-19, of West White­land, re­mains the only Demo­crat rep­re­sent­ing Ch­ester County in the state Leg­is­la­ture, af­ter de­feat­ing Repub­li­can chal­lenger Jack Lon­don.

How­ever, it wasn’t all bad news for Penn­syl­va­nia Democrats. They swept the elec­tions for state row of­fices, as vot­ers in the com­mon­wealth chose the Demo­cratic can­di­dates for state at­tor­ney gen­eral, state au­di­tor and state trea­surer.

Clin­ton won the ma­jor­ity of votes in the city of Philadel­phia and the four sur­round­ing “col­lar coun­ties” – Ch­ester, Delaware, Mont­gomery, Bucks – but it wasn’t enough to off­set Trump’s over­whelm­ing suc­cess with vot­ers in more ru­ral parts of the state.

Val DiGior­gio, chair­man of the Ch­ester County Repub­li­can Party, spoke about the Trump sur­prise on Wed­nes­day. Although he ul­ti­mately won Penn­syl­va­nia’s 20 elec­toral votes, Trump is only the sec­ond Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date to lose the county’s vote since 1964. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is the only other Demo­crat to defy that trend, when he won Ch­ester County in the 2008 elec­tion.

“I’d been say­ing in the weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tion that I wouldn’t be sur­prised if he won big, and I wouldn’t be sur­prised if he lost. I said there was a chance that all the polls were wrong, and that turned out to be the case,” DiGior­gio said.

“What was clear yes­ter­day is that there is a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the Amer­i­can peo­ple who feel that their gov­ern­ment is not look­ing out for them. It makes them feel the sys­tem is cor­rupt. There is a cer-

tain wis­dom in un­der­stand­ing that. They feel they are tired of hav­ing their val­ues deemed po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect.

“There is a feel­ing among the mid­dle class that gov­ern­ment is not look­ing out for them, and that the sys­tem is rigged for peo­ple who have con­nec­tions. The ‘drain the swamp’ men­tal­ity car­ried the day.”

Ch­ester County Demo­cratic Party Chair­man Brian McGin­nis said on Wed­nes­day that he was very sur­prised by the out­come of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, es­pe­cially with the re­sult of Penn­syl­va­nia go­ing for Trump. “I thought once we car­ried the county for Clin­ton

that she would win the state,” he added.

“The white ru­ral vote came out in full force. Don­ald Trump tapped into a lot of anger and you saw that in the re­sults,” McGin­nis said. “One would think that with Hil­lary win­ning Philadel­phia County with such a large plu­ral­ity that she would eas­ily win the state.

“Right now the Repub­li­can Party con­trols the en­tire coun­try. They will con­trol the pres­i­dency, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the U.S. Se­nate, Supreme Court nom­i­na­tions, the ma­jor­ity of gov­er­nor­ships and state leg­is­la­tures. They must now show the peo­ple that they can gov­ern. If they can’t, we will hold them ac­count­able on all lev­els.”

Repub­li­can Ch­ester County Sher­iff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh said she

was ab­so­lutely elated upon wit­ness­ing Trump’s vic­tory. Welsh was in charge of the Trump cam­paign in Ch­ester County. “I think the ci­ti­zens of this great coun­try made a de­ci­sion, and I’m very, very pleased to see the sup­port for Mr. Trump, and very ex­cited about his vic­tory,” she added.

Welsh said she was a very early Trump sup­porter, and she al­ways had great con­fi­dence in him and his mes­sage of change for a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion for the coun­try, and wanting to have ci­ti­zens take their gov­ern­ment back. She de­scribed Trump’s cam­paign as a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs through­out the elec­tion sea­son, but she said she never changed her po­si­tion in feel­ing that Trump was the best choice be­cause he would be

a pres­i­dent that could ac­tu­ally make changes in Wash­ing­ton, and re­ally re­spond to the needs of the peo­ple.

Welsh said she worked very hard on for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney’s cam­paign in 2012, but she has never seen the level of en­thu­si­asm and sup­port that peo­ple had for Trump. Rom­ney, the pre­vi­ous Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, won Ch­ester County by less than half of a per­cent­age point, but he lost the state of Penn­syl­va­nia to Obama. Welsh said she was very dis­ap­pointed that Trump didn’t win Ch­ester County, but she didn’t have an an­swer for the cause of the loss. “I was dis­ap­pointed the col­lar coun­ties didn’t re­spond (to Trump’s mes­sage), but I’m proud Penn­syl­va­nia pulled through,” she said.

McGin­nis said in a state­ment re­leased Wed­nes­day that “most ev­ery­one is glad to see the end of the historic 2016 elec­tion,” but “the coun­try, state and Ch­ester County de­served a bet­ter out­come.”

He thanked the can­di­dates and vol­un­teers for their hard work dur­ing this elec­tion sea­son, and he said they should be proud of their ef­forts, even though Democrats had more losses than wins in the county.

“It is a shame that we put up rel­a­tively good num­bers in Ch­ester County for Hil­lary Clin­ton and Katie McGinty but those couldn’t trans­late into wins,” McGin­nis said. “Voter frus­tra­tions with Wash­ing­ton and Harrisburg un­for­tu­nately did not res­onate to lo­cal races where we were dras­ti­cally out­spent – but not out-worked.”

When asked if Trump can be a suc­cess­ful pres­i­dent, DiGior­gio said he is def­i­nitely go­ing to have challenges, as all pres­i­dents do.

“There is a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the Congress that dis­agrees with his plat­form,” DiGior­gio said. “But at the end of the day, the guy is a deal-maker. If he reaches out to the Leg­is­la­ture, he could be tremen­dously suc­cess­ful. But it re­mains to be seen which Don­ald Trump emerges: the guy who wants to take peo­ple on or make a deal.”

Trump is set to be sworn into of­fice as Amer­ica’s 45th pres­i­dent Jan. 20, 2017.


Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump gives his ac­cep­tance speech dur­ing his elec­tion night rally.


Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton em­braces run­ning mate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., af­ter speak­ing at the New Yorker Ho­tel in New York Wed­nes­day.

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