Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Strong rural support for Trump helped carry Ohio, led to defeat of House Agriculture chair Collin Peterson in Minn.

Though not all the election results are in, it seems clear that President Trump enjoyed broad rural support, sometimes enough to prove decisive in contentious races. 

Votes from small cities and rural areas helped Trump carry Ohio. He "won every category of county except the urban core counties of major- and medium-sized metropolitan areas, just as he did in 2016. He made up losses in core counties in large- and medium-sized metros with strong support in suburbs of those urban areas.Tim Marema and Tim Murphy report for The Daily Yonder. "His advantage of more than 2 to 1 with voters in small metros (less than 250,000 residents) and rural areas put him over the top. In small metros and rural areas, Trump ran up a 560,000-vote lead, and that margin gave him statewide lead of about 470,000 votes."

Another sign of how Trump has made rural America more Republican: House Agriculture Committee chair Collin Peterson, a Blue Dog Democrat from Minnesota, lost his seat after three decades in the House. The winner, Michelle Fischbach, is "a well-financed Republican and former Minnesota lieutenant governor endorsed by President Trump," Chuck Abbott reports for the Food & Environment Reporting Network. The result wasn't entirely unexpected; Peterson was said to be the most vulnerable incumbent in the House before the election, since his district is strongly conservative. But at a time when the top of the ticket increasingly drives voter choices, Trump probably made the difference.

It's unclear as of publication time whether Trump's rural edge will help him carry the battleground states that helped win him the election in 2016. By late Tuesday evening, "it became clear the high numbers of mail-in ballots in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- which collectively account for 46 electoral votes -- would likely decide the election. Trump carried those three states by close margins in 2016 predominately because of strong support in rural counties," Chris Clayton reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. "Among some states Democrats hoped to flip, Trump maintained strong support among rural county totals in general, which helped him hold on to Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas despite polls suggesting Democrats could take those states. Georgia and North Carolina were both leaning Trump's direction early Wednesday morning, but neither state had declared a winner."

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