CNN, New York Times spotlight Westmoreland County as key in presidential race

National media outlets are eyeing Westmoreland County as a key battleground in the looming presidential election.

Both CNN and the New York Times this week spotlighted the county in reports, talking to residents and politicians about their efforts to swing the race in favor of either President Donald Trump or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

CNN — which called Westmoreland “pivotal” for Trump — spoke with Leslie Rossi, owner of the famous red, white and blue Trump House in Unity, which features a large cutout of the president outside.

“Four years ago, my work was really hard here,” Rossi told CNN. “I had to convince them President Trump was the best choice for them. This time, I don’t have to do any of that. They’re all in.”

Trump won Westmoreland County over Hillary Clinton by a commanding 56,853 votes in 2016, but CNN also talked to local Democrats about their efforts to win over supporters for Biden in rural and suburban Pennsylvania communities that usually vote Republican.

“Donald Trump changed the political game here in Pennsylvania four years ago,” county Commissioner Gina Cerilli told CNN. “I’m just very thankful that the Democratic Party, Joe Biden has realized that all of these little communities matter.”

The New York Times article focused on Democrats “deep in Trump Country.” The article highlighted a “surge in enthusiasm” for Biden which, though not enough to turn the county blue, might make a difference in the Nov. 3 election.

There are more Biden lawn signs in the region than Clinton had in 2016, and Biden has made efforts to court Southwestern Pennsylvania during his campaign, supporters told the Times.

“If Mr. Biden can reduce Mr. Trump’s support in these regions while producing even bigger numbers in the suburbs and cities than Mrs. Clinton did in 2016, Mr. Trump’s path becomes all the more difficult,” the Times wrote.

The Times also spoke with local Trump supporters, including U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Peters, who said he’s seen enthusiasm for Trump rise in the last four years.

“Our base wasn’t as excited in 2016 as they are now,” Reschenthaler told the paper. “So I’m actually seeing more excitement from the Republican base for the president in 2020.”

Both Trump and Biden have made Southwestern Pennsylvania a key part of their campaign strategies.

Trump visited the region Tuesday for a rally in Johnstown, which followed campaign events in Unity and Pittsburgh last month.

Biden toured the region by train in September, which included stops in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, New Alexandria, Latrobe and Johnstown. He also visited Pittsburgh in August.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, jtierney@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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Election | Local | Pennsylvania | Politics Election | Top Stories | Westmoreland

Published at Thu, 15 Oct 2020 13:30:00 +0000

Source: CNN, New York Times spotlight Westmoreland County as key in presidential race.

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