BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Beaver County highlights the importance of the region for the 2020 Presidential race.
All eyes will be on Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 128 in Rochester on Tuesday when Vice President Pence makes a morning visit to a part of the region that is a must-win for the Donald Trump-Pence team in 2020.
“The president has appreciated the importance of western Pennsylvania to his initial election, as well as his 2020 election,” Jim Christiana, chair of the Beaver County Republican Party, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.
The Vice President’s visit to Beaver County comes just a short time after President Trump toured the Shell cracker plant, touting the administration’s role in energy development and claiming Democrats have abandoned Beaver County values.
“Their entire policy agenda has abandoned blue-collar, hard-working people,” said Christiana. “Look at the assault by the left on the natural gas industry, an industry that is revitalizing Beaver County and western Pennsylvania.”
Local Beaver County Democrats said that claim is a red herring as they not only support natural gas but were the first to back the cracker plant.
So why are Trump and Pence here so much?
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports On Vice President Mike Pence’s Visit.
“I think they need to spend time in Beaver County,” said Terri Mitko, chair of the Beaver County Democratic Party. “The President has made a lot of promises during his campaign back in 2016, and he’s broken them.”
Beaver Democrats see the visits as a sign of the Republicans’ weakness.
“He’s broken promises regarding jobs,” Mitko said. “He’s broken promises regarding health care that have affected the people of Beaver County, so he needs to be here.”
But so far, it’s only the Republicans who have campaigned in Beaver County, a county Trump won by 18 1/2 points in 2016.
So local Democrats have some advice for their eventual Democratic nominee.
“They need to talk to us. Come down to Beaver County. We want you here. We want to see you. We want to talk to you, and we want you to listen to us,” said Mitko.
Despite a registration advantage, it won’t be easy to defeat President Trump in Beaver County, Republicans say.
“Beaver County has shown there are a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats who support President Trump and Vice President Pence. So I think it’s very important, and I don’t think it will be the last that we see President Trump and Vice President Pence over the next several months,” said Christiana.
VFW Post Commander Wesley Hill recognizes the political importance of Beaver County but says the topic has not come up.
“This program that we’ve been working on with them, not one word has been mentioned about that, and I think that’s quite surprising, and I’m quite impressed by that,” said Hill.
Delano: “No mention of politics has come up?”
Hill: “Not a word.”
No doubt that’s true, but there’s a lot at stake in this visit and subsequent visits by the candidates.