USA Today: As Election Nears, Eyes Turn to Chester County

Pennsylvania ranked 45th, or sixth from the bottom, on WalletHub’s list of the Best & Worst States to Start a Business in 2017. Above is an aerial view of Darlington Street in West Chester.

Because of the county’s relative demographic homogeneity (wealthy, white, and educated), all eyes are on Chester County as voters here consider whether they will continue their support for the Republican Party, writes Susan Page for USA TODAY

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Committa on the front page of the USA Today--photo via Lani Frank on Facebook.
West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta on the front page of the USA Today–photo via Lani Frank on Facebook.

Apart from 2008, Chester County voters have favored the Republican Party in the last 12 Presidential elections. But the GOP’s margin of victory has narrowed. Romney won here by only 529 votes, as West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta points out in the article. 

Now residents are facing the same dilemma as much of the country: Whom to choose? And that choice is attracting the attention of journalists, pundits, and political forecasters.

And deciding hasn’t been easy for some residents.

Regular Republican voter, Patty Mapa, a 48-year-old substitute kindergarten teacher in West Chester, summed up the conundrum. She feels that Trump is “negative, just very divisive, and erratic” and sees Clinton as having issues “when it comes to trustworthiness.“

Nevertheless, Mapa is certain of one thing: “I am voting against Trump,” she told USA Today.

But Trump may still have a chance to sway some voters, says one political insider.

“What’s important here and determinative here is whether Donald Trump can show himself to be someone who reaches out to a broader segment of the population, as opposed to what he did during the primaries,“ said Chester County Republican Chairman, Val DiGiorgio.

“We’re still waiting to see whether that’s the case.”

As that waiting continues, many voters feel the current pulling them toward Clinton.

But what no one is sure of is whether that trend is simply the result of Trump’s unpopularity or a true recalibration of the county’s overall political views. 

“I try not to talk to people about this campaign,” said Lisa Cromley, a 53-year-old middle school English and History teacher in West Chester. “It’s so divisive.”

Read more about this analysis here.

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