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Amish PAC launches pro-Trump ads

Polling shows race increasingly tight here and in Ohio

It’s go time for the Amish PAC.

With the presidential contest tightening in several swings states, including Pennsylvania, the Virginia-based political-action committee has launched its first advertisements intended to encourage Amish voters to hit the polls in November in support of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

It’s go time for the Amish PAC.

With the presidential contest tightening in several swings states, including Pennsylvania, the Virginia-based political-action committee has launched its first advertisements intended to encourage Amish voters to hit the polls in November in support of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Designed to run in newspapers read by the Amish in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states, the campaign shows an image of Trump with facts that organizers hope will resonate with the conservative religious sect, such as his entrepreneurial skills, family-run businesses and lifelong abstention from alcohol.

PAC co-founder and fundraising manager Ben Walters said the campaign, which also will include billboards in Amish areas, such as Lancaster County, will run up until Election Day in November.

The goal is starting a conversation, Walters said, but from what feedback has reached him, “I think (Amish) people are taking notice.”

Swing states in focus

Submitted

The PAC is targeting Pennsylvania and Ohio, two key swing states which also have the nation’s largest concentration of Amish, at just under 70,000 people each. While Trump ads are the centerpiece of the effort, it also will promote other Republican candidates.

Even so, the total number of Amish voters could be small. Some estimates have pegged it somewhere around 2,000 for the region; in 2004, for example, there were just over 2,100 in Lancaster County.

In a state with more than 8 million registered voters, why the urgency when the potential number of Amish voters is relatively small?

As reported last month, Walters and local Lancaster County organizer Ben King, a businessman who grew up Amish and maintains ties with the community, feel that every vote will count in what could be closely fought races — not just for the presidency, but also for state contests, such as U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election bid, as well as local races.

According to this morning’s reports on the latest Quinnipiac University polling, Trump leads Clinton by 2 points in Pennsylvania, 43 to 41 percent, while they are tied in Ohio at 41 percent each.

Walters said the group also will aim for outreach at community events, such as county fairs and agricultural gatherings, where the Amish congregate. Already they are planning ads in special newspaper supplements that are distributed at a fair popular with the Amish in rural Ohio.

Will it work? He admits it’s hard to say, given how the group shuns electronic communications.

“You can’t exactly do a poll with the Amish,” Walters said. “All we can really do is continue to get the billboards up and get these newspaper ads in front of them,” he added.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com.

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