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Ohio Trump Supporters On What They Think Biden's Presidency Might Bring

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Despite losing the race, President Trump did hang on to some important battleground states, including Ohio. That means for the first time in 60 years, the state did not help pick the president. And that means millions of voters in Ohio are left without the results they had hoped for. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow looks at what a Biden presidency means to Trump supporters in red parts of the state.

ANDY CHOW, BYLINE: 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.

MELISSA MARTIN: I'm just repainting the front of my business.

CHOW: Along this popular strip of Chillicothe, a city of about 21,000 people 50 miles south of Columbus, Martin is about to open a new shop.

MARTIN: It's actually three. It's Bee Sweet Candies, Sweet and Sassy Party Rooms and Free Spirit Threads Boutique.

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

MARTIN: Let's put it this way. At the end of the Obama term, I was ready to go out of business after eight years of Obama.

CHOW: 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 does not sit well with her.

MARTIN: 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.

CHOW: Rita Lewis, who drives an hour every day to work for Martin, is underneath that scaffolding, giving the trim around the store's doorway a new coat of paint. Lewis is also a Trump supporter and says her No. 1 issue is abortion.

RITA LEWIS: And I think that the Democratic Party is going in the wrong direction with that. I have a problem with that.

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

TRACEY WINBUSH: Forty-seven years is a long time. And he said that he was going to cross the aisle. He said that he was going to 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.

CHOW: Out of everyone I spoke to in Chillicothe for this story, 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.

Pat Highland is sitting on a bench as 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.

PAT HIGHLAND: 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 so some things that Republicans want to accomplish and the things the Democrats - there's no reason we can't do that.

CHOW: Republican Governor Mike DeWine 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.

For NPR News, I'm Andy Chow in Chillicothe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MELODIUM'S "LACRYMAE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.