At least 1,000 blue collar Democrats in Mahoning County have switched parties from Democrat to Republican to vote for Donald Trump in the primary.
There are 88 counties in Ohio.
About 1,000 Democrats in Mahoning County so far have switched their party affiliation to Republican with election officials saying several did it to vote for Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner.
“We are seeing something this election cycle I’ve never seen before to this degree,” said board Chairman Mark Munroe, who’s also the county Republican chairman. “Every day I take phone calls or get voice messages from people saying they’ve been Democrats all their life and they’ve had it. They want to vote for Donald Trump. I’m surprised at the volume of inquiries we’re getting. It’s remarkable.”
A number of Democrats taking a Republican ballot when voting early at the board “say they want to vote for Trump,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, Mahoning County Board of Elections director.
About 7,000 Mahoning County voters have cast early votes. Early voting started Feb. 17 and ends March 14, the day before the primary.
Of those 7,000, about 14 percent were Democrats who voted Republican, Kale-Pesta said. That’s about 1,000 so far.
The percentage of Democrats switching parties will grow even more, said board Vice Chairman David Betras, who also is the county Democratic chairman.
And it doesn’t concern Betras.
“I knew Donald Trump’s message would resonate with blue-collar Democrats,” he said. “But once they learn about his record – besides him being anti-trade – they will change their minds in the general election. I assure you that come the general election, voters will vote our way once we tell the story of Donald Trump. The more chaos created in the Republican primary, the better Democrats will do in the general election.”