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Can Joe Biden Win In Red Western Pennsylvania?


Let's hear now from Western Pennsylvania, where President Trump is headed later today. George "Huck" Rattay is the chairman of the Democratic Party in Fayette County, which is about an hour south of Pittsburgh. He's on the line from his home in Uniontown. Good morning, sir.

GEORGE RATTAY: Hello. Good morning. How are you?

KING: Good. Thanks. Thanks for being with us.

For many years, your area was a Democratic stronghold, and then President Trump won almost all the counties in Western Pennsylvania in 2016. Let me ask you - how have the past four years been for people there? How do they feel about the president now?

RATTAY: Well, put it this way - it's been a long 3 1/2 years. It's all going to end in about 59 days. I just think - just like you indicated, he's flying into Latrobe today. And it's been a very difficult 3 1/2 years. And I'm going to compare it when I came back from Vietnam. When - let me rephrase that. This is how politics has revolved here in 3 1/2 years with Donald Trump because when Hubert Humphrey ran and the senator from Alabama, this is how ugly politics has gotten here in Western Pennsylvania. People can't have a civil conversation - those who support Donald Trump and those who are against Donald Trump.

KING: A Monmouth University poll released this week shows that President Trump is actually gaining ground on Joe Biden. In mid-July, Biden held a 13-point lead. Now it's a 4-point lead. You seem convinced that President Trump will lose that area. Why, then, is Joe Biden losing ground, do you think?

RATTAY: Well, let me say this. We thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, so I don't put a lot of trust in all the polls. I know...

KING: Fair, yeah.

RATTAY: ...If I win by two, it's a win. If you win by 10, it's a win. If you win by 10 votes, it's a win. No, I think people are fed up with Donald Trump's constant lying. While he's in Latrobe Pa., there's a Catholic university. Maybe he should go to confession while he's there.

KING: What should Joe Biden's message be if he wants to win back Pennsylvania - your part of Pennsylvania?

RATTAY: Plain and simple, he has a long history of being in the Senate. And I think this weekend - we all forget it's Labor Day weekend - if it wasn't for the coronavirus, Joe Biden would be in Pittsburgh, Pa., with organized labor. And organized labor will be a big factor in Western Pennsylvania electing Vice President Biden and Harris.

KING: Does Kamala Harris help Joe Biden in that region? And if so, how so?

RATTAY: Well, I think, first of all, he picked a well-qualified candidate. And I just think with a female on the ticket - a well-deserved female - and they're - and you will see those voters come out. They're just sick and tired of what's going on in Washington, D.C.

KING: George "Huck" Rattay is chairman of the Democratic Party in Fayette County, Pa. Thank you, sir, for your time. We appreciate it.

RATTAY: Well, thank you. Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.