LATROBE, Pa. (KDKA) — President Donald Trump’s visit to Latrobe puts this region’s second-largest county in the spotlight.
There are very good reasons why Westmoreland County is getting this special attention. In 2016, Trump carried Westmoreland County with 64 percent of the vote, a 57,000 vote margin over Hillary Clinton.
This year, local Republicans think Pres. Trump can do even better.
“Westmoreland County is a huge hotspot of support for him in Pennsylvania,” says Bill Bretz, chair of the Westmoreland Republican Party. “It’s going to be key for carrying the state for him, and he recognizes the significance of our area.”
Westmoreland Republicans are aiming high this year.
“Seventy percent is his goal,” says Sean Kertes, a Republican and chair of the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners.
Four years ago, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the county by 10,000 voters. Today, it’s the Republicans who outnumber Democrats by 10,000. The local GOP credits Pres. Trump.
“More and more Democrats and Independents are switching to Republicans because of what he has done and said on the national level,” says Kertes.
State Senator Kim Ward, a Hempfield Republican, says to forget those polls showing women overwhelming supporting Joe Biden.
“I see and talk to an awful lot of people, and I don’t see that gender gap in Westmoreland County,” says Ward.
But Commissioner Gina Cerilli, a Democrat, says Republicans underestimate Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden’s name is on the ballot, and it’s going to be different this year,” says Cerilli. “Every day the momentum and enthusiasm is growing for Joe Biden in Westmoreland County.”
She says Westmoreland voters see through Pres. Trump’s rhetoric.
“He made big promises. He was going to bring back jobs. He was going to raise wages. And basically, he broke those promises,” Cerilli said.
Cerelli says Biden’s moderate approach fits her county.
“I am a conservative Democrat, and that’s why I endorsed Joe Biden in the primary. Joe Biden is a moderate Democrat. He’s not a socialist,” said Cerelli.
Voters decide in just 60 days.