Wes Farno: The Western Front – Ohio for Dummies
My mind started turning several weeks ago.
It started with a colleague, Mike Biundo, sharing wisdom about New Hampshire. Mike absolutely has the experience to guide young staffers and green media on where to go and how to pronounce everything correctly. His track record of success in presidential campaigns will also provide invaluable insights to anyone willing to ask.
Following Mike’s conveyance of wisdom, Andrew Boucher decided to pontificate on the virtues of southern living, albeit after sharing he is really from the Northeast. While perceptive in the fact that Charleston is a (much) better place to be than Columbia and factual about SC being a good place to be in February, the column jumped the shark when Andrew started talking about SHE-CRAB. I thought he was talking about the reason I broke up with an ex-girlfriend – I did not realize it was a soup!
As a born and raised Buckeye, I had to put my foot down when he suggested lying when you are from Ohio. NEVER. The truth of the matter is that there are more people in Franklin County, Ohio, on Ohio State game day than in all of New Hampshire, and I suspect the 49-28 romping of Clemson in 2021 has something to do with it in South Carolina – probably more jealousy than hatred.
You may not step foot into Ohio for the presidential primary, but I bet some of the media folks reading this will find themselves in the Heart of it All, covering the U.S. Senate primary. As Horace Greeley said, “Go West, Young Man.”
The heart of the Republican primary in Ohio lies along the western corridor running through the farm fields of Ohio. Pundits will tell you a Republican has to win one of the three C’s (Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland) to win the general. However, to win the Republican primary, you need to win the west. So, let me help you out with five stops you should make to solicit votes or harvest a solid interview.
Ottawa – Stop and visit with the folks of Putnam County, where 88% of total voters cast a Republican ballot in the 2022 Senate primary. Set up a meeting with my friend, Tony, at Henry’s Restaurant. It will be an interview you enjoy! (And I’m happy to make the connection for you.)
New Bremen – Visit with the ROMEOs (really old men eating out) for breakfast at the New Bremen Coffee Shop and partake in the early morning problem-solving. New Bremen is home to Crown Equipment and sits on the southern edge of Auglaize County. 91% of total voters in the 2022 primary cast Republican ballots.
Maria Stein – Welcome to the heart of high school sports. Maria Stein (population: 1,206) is home to Marion Local High School, which holds the Ohio High School Athletic Association record for most football state titles with 13 wins. All coming since George W. was sworn into office. Stop in at the Korner Kafe before a home game, and be rest assured that everyone in the bar that voted voted in the Republican primary.
Bellefontaine (bel-foun-tan) – The county seat to Logan County, where 85% of voters cast a Republican ticket. Your best bet is to get a fried bologna sandwich and fries at Dan’s Diner downtown. Walk into the old courthouse down the street, and I guarantee it won’t be a waste of your time.
Troy – K’s Hamburgers is the only iconic political stop in western Ohio. Every candidate for the last decade has been to K’s. Get the fried tenderloin – you can thank me later. Only a measly 76% of voters cast Republican ballots in the 2020 primary. I know, I know!
There you go! Five places to get you started in western Ohio. Ohio is the Heart of it All, and the Republican primary will be won on the western front.
P.S. In the coming weeks, I expect you to hear from my colleague Mark Warner. If he doesn’t mention Brown County State Park, he is doing the Hoosier state a true disservice.