THE DAY AFTER
County officials weigh in on Trump’s victory
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.