Former President Bill Clinton returns Saturday to the Mahoning Valley to urge Democratic voters to support the party’s candidates, particularly Gov. Ted Strickland.
Clinton will speak at the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s pre-Election Day breakfast 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Mr. Anthony’s on South Avenue in Boardman.
How big is Clinton’s visit to the Valley and Strickland’s re-election effort?
“On a scale of one to 10, this is about a 15,” said Mahoning Democratic Chairman David Betras.
Most recent polls show the gubernatorial race between Strickland, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican John Kasich to be a statistical dead-heat.
Clinton’s Saturday visit to Boardman – along with a rally a day later in Cleveland with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden – is part of a final pre-Election Day push to encourage longtime Democrats in Ohio to vote for the party’s candidates, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.
“It’s huge; it’s part of a huge momentum shift,” said Ryan of Niles, D-17th. “This is a base election. We’re not running from our base. We’re running to our base and the message is starting to sink in. The tide is turning.”
The Clinton breakfast, three days before Election Day, will be free and open to the public, but tickets will be needed to attend, Betras said.
Tickets will be available beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Mahoning County Democratic Party headquarters, 3321 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown. Each person can get up to two free tickets to the event on a first-come, first-serve basis.
There will be about 500 to 600 tickets available, but that amount could grow, Betras said.
Mr. Anthony’s holds about 1,100 to 1,200 with about half of those invited to the event being Democratic precinct committee members and volunteers, he said.
Also expected to appear at Saturday’s rally are Strickland and Yvette McGee Brown, his lieutenant governor running mate.
“We’ll rally the base and get out the vote,” Betras said.
Clinton’s visit to Boardman won’t be long. The former president is also campaigning for Democrats in Ohio on Saturday in the Canton area and Columbus.
Clinton’s last public visit to the Valley was Oct. 30, 2008, exactly two years to the date of his scheduled Boardman appearance. Two years ago, Clinton headlined an Obama rally, with about 1,800 in attendance, in Campbell.
Clinton attended a private event at the Canfield home of Bruce and Rori Zoldan on March 11, 2008. That event raised more than $100,000 for the failed presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of the former president and current secretary of state.
The Kellys, a Northeast Ohio band, will perform at the event. The local Democratic Party will provide free breakfast to those who attend.