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Ohio Trump Supporters Express Concern, Uncertainty With Biden Presidency

Melissa Martin and Rita Lewis in Chillicothe
Andy Chow
Melissa Martin stands on top of scaffolding to paint the top trim of her new storefront in Chillicothe.

President-elect Joe Biden won his race to the White House without carrying several battleground states, including Ohio. That means for the first time in 60 years, the state didn't help pick the president, leaving millions of voters there hoping the election had gone the other way.

On a sunny morning in downtown Chillicothe, Melissa Martin is 8 feet in the air, perched on top of scaffolding set up along the sidewalk repainting the front of her business.  

Along this popular strip of Chillicothe, Martin is about to open a new shop.  

She says this new venture would not be possible without the past four years of Donald Trump as president.  

"Let's put it this way. At the end of the Obama term, I was ready to go out of business after 8 years of Obama," says Martin.  

Martin says that's because Trump created tax reform and cut down on regulations that improved the market and her own confidence in the economy. She says the idea of a Biden presidency doesn’t sit well with her.  

"I'm scared for our taxes. They believe small businesses have all this money, which we don't. They're ready to tax the crap out of us, the Democrats are," Martin says.  

Rita Lewis, who drives an hour every day to work for Martin, is underneath the scaffolding, giving the trim around the store's doorway a new coat of paint.  

Lewis is also a Trump supporter and says her number one issue is abortion, "And I think that the Democratic Party is going in the wrong direction with that. I have a problem with that."  

Chillicothe is in Ross County, which Trump won with 66% of the vote. Trump won Ohio, usually seen as a swing state, by an 8-point margin over Biden.    

Tracey Winbush, former Ohio Republican Party treasurer is from Mahoning County an historically Democratic stronghold that flipped for Trump this year.

"What I saw on election night is that the Mahoning Valley is growing up and finding out that not all politics are one sided. And so when you have a balanced political system you have a strong system, and a strong government and you have strong leadership. Because you need to to sharpen each other by a different perspective, yet work together," says Winbush.

She has the same concerns about a Biden presidency but says she sees some hope with Biden's message of unity.   

"47 years is a long time and he said that we was gonna cross the aisle, he said that he's gonna work with us. I can only take him at his word and pray that he's had a change of heart and he's going to do that," says Winbush.   

Out of the Trump supporters who spoke out in Chillicothe, no one wanted to talk about a perceived Biden presidency without making it known that they're not convinced Biden will end up in the White House on January 20.   

Along with the economy and abortion, Trump supporters are also concerned about what a Biden presidency does to national security and immigration.

As Pat Highland sits on a bench, across the street from Martin's new business, his granddaughter enjoys a treat from the ice cream shop he owns. 

Highland, a Biden supporter, knows he's outnumbered in his own community. But he holds out hope that this city and the country can come together.  

"Everybody has their opinion. But I think in the end run, everybody will feel that it's necessary for us to all get together. And it's there's some things the Republicans want to accomplish and the things the Democrats there's no reason we can't do that," says Highland. 

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said he congratulates Vice President Joe Biden but stopped short of recognizing his electoral win. Instead, DeWine along with other Republican officeholders have been waiting to recognize the results until after Trump's legal actions play out.

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