Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is spending some time in Ohio as she hits the campaign trial. She's hosting a town hall meeting at a Franklinton STEM academy Friday night, but first she'll stop in Chillicothe for a meet-and-greet with voters.
Chillicothe has long been considered a bellwether—the epitome of "as Ohio goes, so goes the country." At the same time, it’s increasingly considered safe turf for Republicans.
President Donald Trump won Ross County, where Chillicothe sits, with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2016. But that doesn't concern Democratic Mayor Luke Feeney for the long term.
“The swing in percentages from '12 to '16 was pretty dramatic, but those other presidential years, the several before 2016 show that Ross County, like Ohio, is up for grabs,” he says.
Feeney points to the range of Democratic politicians, like himself, that serve the area.
“We have county and city officials who have served the community well for a long time," he says. "We can show the voters here in Ross County and Chillicothe and that that brand of government is what the Democratic Party is all about.”
Warren's campaign will swing through parts of the country hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. She pledges to fight the nation's painkiller crisis by taxing the wealthiest U.S. households. Before Ohio, she'll visit Kermit, W.Va., which has by far the nation's highest overdose death rate.
Feeney thinks that Chillicothe voters will be open-minded about Warren.
“She’s a candidate that stands out in my mind that is really putting forward a lot of ideas to consume and chew on," he says. "So I think that you’ll have a crowd to hear what options are out there."