Kaine in Springfield: Ohio critical to election

Ohio will be the deciding vote in the race for the White House, U.S. Sen. and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine said during a campaign rally in downtown Springfield Wednesday.

“It’s a checkmate state,” Kaine said. “If you win in Ohio, it’s over.”

He made a push Wednesday to get Democratic voters to the polls with a rally at the Heritage Center of Clark County. Several prominent polls Wednesday showed former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in a dead heat in Ohio with Republican rival Donald Trump just hours before the candidates were set to go on stage in Nevada for the third and final debate of the election.

“Take nothing for granted because it’s been a season of surprises,” Kaine told the crowd of supporters in downtown Springfield.

Kaine also attacked Trump’s tax policies and accused the Republicans of running an “insult-driven” campaign.

>>RELATED: Tim Kaine at Springfield rally: ‘Ohio is checkmate’

He urged Clark County Democrats to register and get to the polls early, arguing the Republican Party cannot win in November without Ohio.

Trump’s campaign shot back, citing excerpts from hacked emails released on Wikileaks that they said shows Clinton favors open borders.

“Tim Kaine’s visit comes at a terrible time for the Clinton campaign, right after Wikileaks revealed she tells Wall Street insiders she dreams of wide open borders and hemispheric open trade that will only accelerate the loss of Ohio jobs to foreign countries,” said Seth Unger, Trump’s Ohio communications director.

Clinton and Kaine are also out of touch with the values of working people in Southwest Ohio, Unger said.

Kaine, who spoke in Upper Arlington earlier Wednesday, also questioned Trump’s recent statements that the presidential race is rigged. Other Ohio Republicans, including Secretary of State Jon Husted, have said the state’s election system is secure and there’s no evidence of large-scale fraud. Husted has said he still plans to vote for Trump.

“What he’s saying is American voters and American local officials don’t know how to run an election,” Kaine said.

To encourage more residents to vote, Kaine proposed automatically registering U.S. citizens to vote when they turn 18.

Kaine argued the economy has stabilized, but noted people in parts of states like Ohio and Virginia still don’t see a path to a better life. Clinton, if elected, would make investments in infrastructure, education and workforce development, he said.

Clinton’s plan would also include no new taxes for families earning more than $250,000 per year or less, he said, as well as tax reductions for small businesses and start-ups.

Kaine argued Trump’s plan would benefit mostly the rich, and said similar policies led to the Great Recession several years ago.

“The plan he’s proposing is a Trump-first plan, not a plan that puts working people first,” Kaine said.

But many voters in Clark County aren’t happy with the state of the country under President Barack Obama, said Lynda Smith, Clark County Republican Party chairwoman. A vote for Clinton would allow those policies to continue.

“People need to concentrate on what he says he’s going to do for the economy and immigration,” Smith said of Trump. “The Clinton campaign is going to be the same as Obama has been for the last 7.5 years. Trump wants to change that. He wants to grow the economy, he wants to secure the border and I think people need to pay attention to the issues and not all the sidebar stuff.”

Kaine said he wasn’t sure how the final debate would play out Wednesday night. But he said Trump has repeatedly insulted veterans, minorities and others throughout the campaign.

“I don’t know exactly what we’ll see from him tonight but I think it’s going to be scorched earth,” Kaine said.

In contrast, he argued Clinton has repeatedly shown poise under pressure.

“She just showed that demeanor and poise and grace under pressure we need to see in office,” Kaine said.

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