Democratic voters, union members switching parties for primary

Trump union vote

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Local elections leaders say they are seeing evidence that Democrats are switching over to vote Republican in the primary election.

In Mahoning County, one out of every 11 voters requesting a Republican absentee ballot is actually registered as a Democrat. The same is being seen in Trumbull County.

“I would say in the primary, it’s happening more than in my lifetime. There’s always an uptick, because people always do switch back in this area,” said Trumbull County Republican Party Chair Randy Law.

But the question is, why are they switching? Signs at the Trumbull County Republican Party’s office point to Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“I think there are between 1,400 and 1,500 [Trump] signs they’ve given out in the last three weeks,” Law said.

This week, a vice president for the United Steelworkers in Canton called union support for Trump its “dirty little secret.”

“The labor unions, who usually support the Democrats, a lot of our members and a lot of their families, are supporting Trump,” read a statement from Keith Strobelt, a political director for the Steelworkers union.

Michael Aurilio, recording secretary of United Auto Workers Local 1112, said that’s not all that unusual.

“You always had that, even when you go back to the Bush eras, Ronald Reagan,” he said.

Aurilio’s not seeing a Trump surge within UAW. He said most members are supporting Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

On Friday, CNN asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich about the report of Ohio union members switching to Trump, asking whether he believed that would hurt his chances of winning his home state.

“When I ran for reelection against a Democrat, I received 51 percent of the vote of union households. I’m not alarmed by reports like this. There may be crossovers, and I think a lot of the crossovers that come will vote for me,” he said.

Representatives for the local United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO declined to comment, as their national unions have not endorsed any candidates.

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