Will Ohio Republicans bridge the divide with President-Elect Trump?

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It remains to be seen whether President-Elect Donald Trump will be able to bridge the divide with Ohio Republicans who openly opposed his candidacy. There’s also the question of how that opposition could have long term consequences for Ohio.

Senator Rob Portman, who was re-elected Tuesday, was one of those high ranking Republicans who declined to endorse or vote for Mr. Trump.

“I feel Ohio is going to be fine,” Portman said at a post-election press conference Wednesday. “I think the question is going to be whether Republicans and Democrats alike can say, ‘OK, the election is behind us, now let’s move forward’.”

Gov. John Kasich reneged on his pledge to support the eventual nominee, gambling that Mr. Trump could not win the election.

Keary McCarthy, director of the liberal policy think tank Innovation Ohio, says that gamble could have consequences.

“It could very much affect Ohio’s working relationship with the federal government and that could be detrimental to the state, not just at the state level but trickling all the way down to the local level,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy says it will be incumbent on President-Elect Trump to try to heal those relationships.

“And he’s going to have to demonstrate that by being willing to take those calls from Democrats and from Republicans that didn’t support him during the presidential campaign and work to build those bridges.”

With control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, Republicans will have a clear path to implement big changes in healthcare policy, tax code reform, and federal regulations that impact small businesses.

“Those will all be helpful to actually getting the economy moving,” Portman said. “I think that will be potentially helpful to Ohio because we’re a manufacturing economy and we were hit harder by the recession than some states.”

Greg Lawson, a policy analyst at the conservative Buckeye Institute, expects to see some power shift from Washington back to the states in a Donald Trump administration.

“Unshackling states to make their policies to work within what is best for them,” Lawson said. “To be able to write their own laws and their own rules in a way they haven’t had as much flexibility to do…in recent years.”

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