(WKBN) – While the focus remains on the presidential election, around Youngstown on Wednesday, the political discussion centered on how the area is shifting to Republican.
On Election Day, local Republicans made it clear that their party does have qualified candidates who will win races. The Democratic Party is no longer in total control of local elected offices.
Tuesday night, Mike Loychik was greeted with a hero’s welcome by Mahoning County Republicans. Fresh off a win for state representative in Trumbull County, Loychik was part of a group hug with Al Cutrona — a state representative winner in Mahoning County — and state Senator Mike Rulli who, two years ago, became the inspiration for future Republicans.
“I mean, what we’re in the midst of is really kind of a realignment and a reinventing of our political parties,” said YSU political science professor Paul Sracic.
Sracic says the Republican Party has long been the pro-business party but now is appealing to more blue-collar voters like those around Youngstown.
“So we’ll see if the party can adjust and start fielding candidates who can appeal to these Trump voters because it’s almost as if it’s not the Republican Party anymore, it’s the Trump Party,” Sracic said.
Of the 23 contested races in the counties around Youngstown, Republicans won 12 and Democrats won 11. President Donald Trump carried all four counties, including Mahoning, where Republican chairman Tom McCabe says people are noticing.
“But the difference between this year and four years ago, we had a lot better ground game and a lot better coordination with the state party and with the Trump campaign itself,” McCabe said.
“There’s no reason for us to be losing the way we’re losing,” Congressman Tim Ryan said.
Ryan is a Democrat who won and has been saying for a while that the Democratic Party has become too liberal and needs to focus on the everyday needs of the common person.
“Because the party is not focused on the kind of Democratic Party that I grew up with, that people in the Mahoning Valley grew up with voting for Democrats,” Ryan said.
“The party has a lot of sorting out to do, the Democratic Party. They chose Biden because he represented the old Democratic Party, the Democratic Party that was popular in the Valley,” Sracic said.
Former Congressman and state Representative John Boccieri, a Democrat, says the national message of the party is not resonating with the people of Ohio and that there may be a realignment of the party coming, which some may have trouble dealing with.
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