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Editor’s corner: Rural votes have clout in November

Pennsylvania is one of the key battle-ground states when voters across the nation take to the polls in 38 days. According to a new Franklin and Marshall College poll released on Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by nine points.

Around here, you definitely would not get that sense. While Joe Biden signs are visible throughout the city of Warren, the rest of the county has strong support for the incumbent.

Rural America, as was the case in 2016, is Trump country. Pennsylvania’s largest issue when it comes to the vote in November is just what will the turnout be in its key major cities.

Strong Democratic bases in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, depending on who ventures out or receives an absentee ballot, could play the largest role in determining what candidate wins the 20 electoral votes in this important swing state.

“Trump’s stunning Pennsylvania victory in 2016 came by a razor-thin margin, and it figures to be a squeaker again this year,” writes Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist and chief executive officer of Quantum Communications in Harrisburg in a recent piece published by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But voter passion and energy are on Trump’s side. Driving down the backroads of Pennsylvania, one sees reminders of Trump’s drawing power. Spray-painted on plywood and splashed onto cardboard with tempera paint is a simple message:

“T-R-U-M-P. Thousands of Trump campaign signs are planted on suburban lawns.”

Like Warren, cities are much more likely to have some balance between the Biden and Trump signs. In the hills and forests, however, there’s no question who the candidate of choice is.

Will the cities — or the valleys — make the difference? Every vote will definitely count here.

John D’Agostino is the regional editor of the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and the OBSERVER in Dunkirk, N.Y. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call (716) 487-1111.

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