PORTAGE COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – It seems former President Donald Trump‘s plans to host a rally at the Portage County fairgrounds in Randolph will not materialize, according to County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti.
“Last Wednesday, the Sec. of State called me about 5 o’clock and said they we’re having a little bit of problems with Portage County not wanting to have this event here,” Badalamenti said.
He says the fair board met Thursday morning and the board’s president told one of his fellow commissioners that they were denying the use of the property.
Planned for the last week in April, Badalamenti says the board gave several reasons why it could not take place.
“We went from having the parking lot to be too muddy because it can be, end of April, it can be very muddy. It went from there to you haven’t asked the other party to come and attend it,” Badalamenti said.
Badalamenti says area contractors reached out saying they would repair any damage caused to the fairgrounds at a reduced cost.
“It boiled down to their bylaws said they would not have political events at the fairgrounds.”
The commissioner says he has heard from passionate people on both sides who are for or against hosting the rally.
Back in June of 2021, Trump held his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County fairgrounds in Wellington.
Badalamenti says he would welcome having that attention on Portage County and estimated it would draw close to 20,000 people.
“I think that’s an honor. It puts a limelight on Portage County. That meant to Trump’s team I talked to Saturday, that’s about a $4 million economic hit in the arm.”
Although the county insures the fairgrounds, Badalamenti says the property is owned by the Portage County Agricultural Society.
While there’s not much more he can do, he says it’s wrong to be turning down the spotlight on the county.
“A president of the United States wants to come to our county and regardless of who it is, I think they belong here.”
We reached out to the county fair board for comment and have not received a response as of Friday afternoon.