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Trump might come to county for rally

October 28, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

President Donald Trump could be making a campaign stop in Butler County on Saturday.

Nothing has been finalized, authorities said, but the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport on Airport Road in Penn Township is being considered as the venue for the possible “Make American Great Again” event.

“Discussions are ongoing about the possibility of hosting a Trump campaign rally here,” airport manager Ike Kelly said Wednesday. “Talks are ongoing.”

Addressing the logistics — such as parking, accessibility to and from the airport, accommodating rallygoers and site security — are key in the talks.

An email sent to the Trump campaign was not immediately returned.

Kelly said that after the Trump rally Oct. 20 at the Erie International Airport, Butler airport officials made an overture to the Trump campaign,

“We expressed an interest thinking that the airport might be selected for an election rally,” he said.

Two days or so later, the president’s campaign staff got back to the airport.

“They said it could be a possibility,” Kelly said, “but they wanted to evaluate the site to see it if was acceptable to them.”

Kelly declined further comment.

Al Lindsay, chairman of the Butler County Republican Committee, said he was aware of the possible rally.

“If indeed they have this event, I’m not surprised that the president would choose to come here at the end of his campaign,” Lindsay said. “In 2016, Butler County supported him more than any other county in the state, probably in the country.

“We have said that when it comes to support for Donald Trump, Butler County is ground zero.”

Republican-rich Butler County went strong for Trump in the 2016 election. He defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by a margin of 66 to 29 percent.

The stop in Butler County would be the first this campaign year for any of the presidential candidates. Vice President Mike Pence visited Oberg Industries in Buffalo Township as part of a roundtable discussion on the economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

The policy event was included on a nationwide tour that was sponsored by America First Policies, a nonprofit group that promotes Trump’s agenda.

Pennsylvania is considered a key battleground state in Tuesday’s election. Trump four years ago won the state’s 20 electoral votes by less than 1 percentage point.

Former President Barack Obama carried Pennsylvania in both of his 2008 and 2012 general election victories.

Both Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate and a Scranton native, have made the state a priority campaign stop in the waning days of the election.

The Real Clear Politics average of Pennsylvania polls shows Biden with an edge of about 4 points.

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