BRUNSWICK — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, spoke to constituents at the Medina County Democratic Party headquarters Sunday before campaign workers set out to knock on doors during the rainy afternoon.
Brown, 65, who is seeking his third term in office, is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. and former Wadsworth Mayor Jim Renacci, 59, in the Nov. 6 election.
“This election, I am optimistic because I see the quality of (candidates Susan Moran Palmer) and (Ken Harbaugh) and up and down the ticket in ways we haven’t seen in some time,” he said to a group of about 50 people.
Brown said it is critical to encourage young people to get out and vote, and he challenged campaign volunteers to think of five people who may not be particularly familiar or interested in politics before the election.
“Go out and find five people, coach them, mentor them, and then take them to early vote come anytime in the next week,” Brown said. “Take them to early vote and that will make the difference.”
Brown said that while he does not blame President Donald Trump for recent deadly tragedies such as Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead between the ages of 54 and 97, he has broached the subject with his opponent during a recent debate.
“When I was debating Renacci, our last debate at Oxford this week I asked, this was before the synagogue in Pittsburgh, but I asked him to talk to his friend President Trump and ask him to start uniting and not dividing and cut the racist rhetoric and the anti-Semitic rhetoric and the misogynist rhetoric and try to unite,” he said.
Brown said he believes if everyone reaches out to educate and mentor young voters around the ages of 19 to 27 years old, it will turn the tide in favor of the Democrats come election day.
“They are going to wake up the next day and they are going to think, ‘My God, we won all these elections …’ maybe this voting thing works and they are going to become voters and they are going to vote Trump out in 2020 and it is going mean a very different country,” Brown.
Andrew McIlveen, 14, of Brunswick, was one of the younger volunteers at the party’s 1733 Pearl Road headquarters.
“I have been interested in politics for quite a while, and I am just trying to get involved,” McIlveen said during the event. “We only have nine days left, and I’m trying to do my best.”
McIlveen said that although he is not old enough to cast a ballot himself, he still can make a difference and he would have to disagree his peers who feel otherwise.
“I am not able to vote and I am still trying to change people’s minds,” he said. “It matters, their parents’ wages, ability to move on in life, college tuition in just a couple years; it matters to everybody even if you can’t vote.”
Field organizer Matt Ducey said that even with today’s technology, nothing replaces old-fashioned face-to-face communication during election season.
“At the end of the day, we can run all the TV ads in the world, we can have all those methods of contact, but conversations between people face-to-face is what is going to decide this election,” Ducey said.
Brown said the reason he is the best candidate for the position is that he “respects the dignity of work.”
“I get up every day and fight for working families,” Brown said. “I (contrast) with my opponent, who sides consistently with special interests, with Wall Street, with the drug companies, with big banks, with oil companies, and I have always fought for workers regardless of whether you punch a clock or work for salaries or work for tips or raise children.”
Renacci said he believes he’s the best candidate for the position.
"Having spent the vast majority of my career creating jobs in the private sector, I understand firsthand how Washington’s policies impact Ohio families and businesses,” he said via email Monday. “And so, I have a real world understanding of what it will take to effectively change the way Washington works."
He said he likes getting out and meeting people.
"Though I miss my family when I travel, I greatly enjoy getting the opportunity to meet Ohioans across the state and listen to their ideas to put Ohio first," he said.
Brittany Martinez, communications director for the Renacci campaign, said it’s possible the Senate candidate could make a campaign stop in Medina County.