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Former President Donald Trump reportedly hoped to hold a rally at the Portage County Fairgrounds, but was turned down by the volunteer board that manages the Randolph property, Portage County commissioners said.
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Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti said he has spoken several times in recent days to Secretary of State Frank LaRose and members of Trump’s forward team about a rally they hoped for. organize April 24 at the exhibition center. The callers said they spoke to a representative of the fair’s board, who gave “several reasons” why the rally could not take place.
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Badalamenti speculated that the event would attract “10 to 20,000 people” and bring in “$4 million” in revenue for businesses in the area. He said contractors in the area would be willing to repair any damage to the fairgrounds at a reduced cost.
“I think the honor of having a President of the United States comes to our county and shines a light on our county…Dimming the spotlight on Portage County, I think it’s appalling,” he said. he declares.
Debi Heppe, secretary of the fair’s board of directors, and Tracey Koszalka, chair of the fair’s board of directors, did not return calls seeking comment.
Badalamenti said he thinks the commissioners could compel the fair’s board to organize the event.
“I think any president who would like to come to Portage County, it would be an honor to have them,” he said. “We were quite grossly rude with their [Trump’s] advanced team.
Although the county insures the fairgrounds and the buildings therein, the fair is run by an independent board, county administrator Michelle Crombie said.
Commissioner Sabrina Christian-Bennett said she spoke to a board member and learned the fair had “a long-standing policy” prohibiting fundraisers or political rallies. She said the fair board member said she had checked with area fair boards and most wouldn’t allow such events either, but the county of Columbiana said they would be ready.
The Canfield and Geauga County fairground boards also turned down Team Trump, Christian-Bennett said. However, Badalamenti said he heard Geauga was still in contention.
Christian-Bennett said she had offered two other venues in Portage County that she said would “be willing to entertain” by hosting the event and could host a rally, but the Trump team seemed “obsessed” with the exhibition center.
“If they’re interested in coming to Portage County, there are other places,” she said. “I see it as when one door closes, there are others that open.”
Badalamenti said he considered it “an insult”.
“Any president of the United States who wants to come to Portage County, we should do that for every single one of them,” Badalamenti said.
Last year, Portage County Republicans planned to host an event with controversial MP Marjorie Taylor Greene, but the MP was unable to fit the event into her schedule.
Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at email@example.com or 330-298-1139.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Trump denied rally at Portage County Fairgrounds
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