KENTON — The Hardin County Democratic Party may be in a very conservative area, but according to chair Don Traxler, their base is fired up going into the November election.
“We’re obviously a minority party here, but we’re strong and mighty, and we’re out there,” he said. “We have loyal people and they will be working hard this year.”
To get that work started, the party held a Campaign Kickoff Dinner and Rally on Saturday at Walnut Grove First United Methodist Church north of Kenton. To help energize the faithful, several Democratic state officials and candidates were on hand, including congressional candidate Robert Fry, statehouse Minority Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard, D-Columbus, and state auditor candidate John Patrick Carney, with Carney and Heard serving as keynote speakers during the rally.
“The message is getting out, and we’ve been doing well,” Fry said. “We know we have to win the middle ground to win. The message is resonating well with people who are hearing it.”
Running against incumbant U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, Fry knows that it is an uphill battle to win in a conservative district, but he believes he brings the right credentials to the job.
“I’m a pro-life Democrat,” he said. “I’m a gun owner and I have no plans on messing with the Second Amendment. But I’m a Democrat because I believe in labor. We need a representative who stands for the people of this district.”
For Heard, her message is very simple to the Democrats of Hardin County.
“My message is pretty much the same everywhere, and that’s to get out and vote and to be engaged,” she said. “Whether your area is red or blue, it’s important to get out there and make your voice heard.”
Although this is an 0ff-year election, Heard still values these campaigns, noting that they help lead into bigger campaigns in the future.
“These elections are crucially important to the state,” she said. “This election happens to be for our governor, plus these elections are what set up our presidential elections next year.”
For Carney, his mission is to make the Auditor’s Office more transparent to taxpayers, showing them exactly where their money is going.
“Over $500 million was given to failing charter schools in the state,” he said. “More and more of your tax dollars are going back into Columbus rather than going out to the rest of the state. The auditor of state should be showing you what you’re getting and not getting for your money so you can make more informed choices as to who you will vote for.”
Traxler hopes that the record of the state government will make their job easier going into November.
“I don’t think we have to do a lot of motivating here,” Traxler said. “County goverment, the city of Kenton, the village of Ada, and all the townships and schools have all seen cuts in funding. The state government is balancing its budget, but they’re cutting out local funds. I hope people remember that when they go to the polls in November.”