GALLIPOLIS — Gallia Republicans gathered for their Fall Rally Thursday evening at the Gallia Senior Center and hosted Republican guests from near and far with Republican National Committee Co-Chair Bob Paduchik serving as the evening’s keynote speaker.
Gallia Commissioner candidate and incumbent Harold Montgomery shared a few words with visitors before US Congressman Bill Johnson, of Ohio’s sixth congressional district, introduced Paduchik.
Montgomery’s democratic opponent for commissioner is Randy Adkins, Morgan Township Trustee.
“I’m honored to be here this evening in a room full of Republicans,” said Montgomery. “Thanks for the folks in DC for having the wisdom to appoint (US Supreme Court Justice Brett) Kavanaugh. I’m running for commissioner this year and I do have a contested race. I have served Gallia County for 20 years as a commissioner…I appreciate your vote and electing me as commissioner. I do my utmost to serve the county.
“There are a few thing I really focus on,” the commissioner continued. “I think everything else (revolves around it). First, is the budget. I’m a conservative Republican. It’s simple. We don’t spend more than we take in and we make sure what we do spend is in the best interest of everyone. We’ve had the opportunity to work the last year and a half with our prosecutor and sheriff and I think they’re doing a great job…They have worked hard in fighting crime and fighting drugs. That comes at a cost and we’re working very hard with those departments and we will see our way through that and keep supporting law enforcement. We do have a lot of opportunities in Gallia County. We’ve been working with the (Gallia) Economic Development Office, the (Gallia Community Improvement Corporation) and the (Gallia Chamber of Commerce). Everyone’s working together to develop opportunities to bring industry and create jobs and working hard to retain jobs here…I thank you for your past support and ask for your vote on Nov. 6. Speak with your friends and neighbors, your family. Let’s not take this for granted in Gallia County. We hear of a blue wave. I don’t think we’ll see a blue wave here. Let’s get out and vote Republican.”
According to GOP.com,”Bob Paduchik most recently served as the Ohio State Director for the Trump-Pence presidential campaign. He was the Campaign Manager for Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010, and was the Ohio State Director for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in both 2000 and 2004, helping President Bush carry the state both times. From 2011 through 2015, Bob worked in a variety of roles at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade association representing the coal-fueled electricity industry. From October 2001 to January 2003, Bob served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.”
As co-chair of the Republican National Committee, Congressman Bill Johnson said Paduchik was nearly daily in contact with President Donald Trump. He said, “If you need somebody that knows how to win elections, you need to talk to Bob Paduchik.”
“Let me just thank all of you first off because without your help Donald J. Trump would not be President of the United States,” said Paduchik. “I think people talk about these campaigns and people focus on DC or Columbus, Ohio, but we don’t win elections in Washington and we don’t win very many of them in Columbus. We win them out here in Gallia County because this is where the vote is and this is where the people are.”
Paduchik shared a story of his first introduction to Trump while preparing a rally in Saint Clairsville, which was also Johnson’s first introduction to then candidate Trump. With pre-rally jitters and moving to overcome logistical event challenges, Paduchik said he received a phone call saying that Trump would be arriving an hour earlier. Johnson had also arrived that day so Paduchik said he would meet with the congressman in the green room of the event venue. The RNC co-chair said at that point in time he still did not know when candidate Trump would be arriving, save for he knew it would be an hour early. In the room was Trump.
“I don’t miss a beat and I say, ‘Mr. Trump, Congressman Johnson,’” Paduchik said. “They go and start talking. They have this long conversation on I don’t know what. I was thinking this is our chance and we’re moving people through and the room fills up and it looks great and everything’s about ready to go. Trump has no idea who I am…At some point in the conversation, something comes up and he says ‘Where’s Bob?’ I’ve been doing this a long time and worked with a lot of good people. When you’re a staff person and you get the wave, you know you’re there to do some errand. You’re an errand boy and run some kind of errand because the congressman asked for something…That’s fine because that’s how it works. Here’s what’s different about President Trump.”
Paduchik said Trump had been engaged in conversation for nearly twenty minutes or a half an hour with the congressman.
“He stops and disengages with Bill,” said Paduchik of Trump, “and he gets my hand in both his hands and says ‘Bob, I want to thank you for coming on with the campaign. It means so much to me that you’re on our team and you’re going to help us win Ohio and win this election and we’re going to do great things for this country. I just want you to know how much I appreciate it.’”
Paduchik said the moment “blew him away” and was the most “gracious” anyone had treated him as a staff person on a campaign.
“First thing I told her (Paduchik’s wife) when she asked how the event went, I said it was fine. It was great,” said Paduchik. “I got to tell you about Trump. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe how nice he was…how much humility that you see in someone when they treat you that way.”
Paduchik said it was unfortunate that was a side of the president most didn’t get to see. He said it was the real man and felt he was a “great guy.”
“I think in many way he really gets a bad rap,” said Paduchik. “I think sometimes he brings some of it on himself a little bit…The other thing I heard as I travel around the country, I hear ‘He’s great. He’s a fighter and he fights for us, but can you get him to lay off the tweets a little bit?’ I can’t.”
Paduchik said he felt Trump had succeeded more in many of his campaign promises in his first two years in office than presidents of recent memory. He credited Trump will filling federal appellate courts with judges and that he was making America safer.
“This is something I’ve heard from conservative pundits a lot,” said Paduchik, “is his ideas on tariffs and trade are bad. We need to be free traders. There’s no such thing as free trade. There’s only fair trade and unfair trade, and we’ve been dealing with unfair trade for a quite a long time. So the president put tariffs in place and those tariffs brought people to the table and right now NAFTA is dead, dead and buried. Do you think anyone in Washington DC would have believed that happened?”
Paduchik said Republicans were the party of the blue collar American. He urged voters to make certain Republicans came out on top in the midterm elections. He voiced concern for democrat behavior during the recent judiciary hearings with now US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Candidates for Ohio Judges of Court of Appeals Jason Smith and Mike Hess asked Gallia for its support and Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren urged Gallia voters to stand against Issue One.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-46-2342, ext. 2103.