Republican Party nominee Donald Trump has yet to hold a single campaign event or open an office in one of Ohio’s most sought-after voting regions: the city of Cincinnati.
Presidential hopefuls typically fill their calendars with visits to Cincinnati, where they stop to fill up on chili or ice cream, and open multiple campaign offices in Cincinnati and around the county. Past Republicans contenders have relied on a generous donor base in Cincinnati suburbs to raise fund their campaigns.
This year is different. Trump’s campaign announced the opening of 16 new offices across Ohio Friday; none of those offices sit in Hamilton County.
— Amanda Seitz (@AmandaSeitz1) August 12, 2016
Instead, the Trump campaign looks to be focusing on the outer rings of Greater Cincinnati by opening offices in conservative Butler, Warren and Clermont counties. The bulk of the offices Trump’s campaign plans to open are located in southern and eastern parts of the state, including one in nearby Dayton and another in Youngstown. The focus appears to be on rural and smaller-sized cities.
Trump lost Hamilton County by a margin of 27,000 votes to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the state’s primary earlier this year, but in neighboring Butler and Warren counties, only a few thousand votes separated the two hopefuls. (Trump still lost.) And in other areas where the campaign plans to open offices, such as Mahoning or Highland County, Trump took a clear lead over his then-Republican rival.
Still, the strategy is unlike any in recent presidential campaign history. Hamilton County is considered a toss-up county for presidential hopefuls, so Republicans and Democrats are often seen campaigning hard here throughout the election year.
Hillary Clinton, for example, has opened three offices in the county as well as a location in Mason so far. She has also made one official campaign stop here, and her husband, Bill Clinton, stumped for her in Cincinnati twice already.
Trump has landed his jet here in Greater Cincinnati to hold rallies for voters, but he’s steered clear of the city and, instead, spoken to crowds in Sharonville and West Chester. Running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, however, grabbed lunch last weekend at Price Hill Chili.
While Cincinnati voters lean Democrat, it hasn’t stopped past Republican presidential hopefuls from stopping here.
By August of 2012, Mitt Romney had opened up three campaign offices in Hamilton County and had plans to launch more. He made several stops here in 2012, including for breakfast at the First Watch location downtown and to speak at Union Terminal. John McCain and Sarah Palin also campaigned together at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati in 2008. Cincinnati donors wrote George W. Bush more than $2.1 million worth of checks in 2004.
These campaign efforts have had mix results, though.
President Barack Obama beat both Romney and McCain by roughly five percentage points in Hamilton County in 2012 and 2008.
But Republicans are typically quick to point out that Hamilton County hasn’t been blue for all that long. Democratic challenger John Kerry lost Hamilton County by 23,000 voters -- and more than five points -- to Bush in 2004.