Republicans push to get Amish, Mennonites to the polls


LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Republicans with ties to Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson have launched an effort to drive Amish and Mennonite voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio to the polls in record numbers this fall.

The campaign is raising money through an organization called Amish PAC and aims to, in part, build on a similar effort in 2004 on behalf of George W. Bush. But leaders said they aren’t affiliated with a candidate, LNP newspapers reported (http://bit.ly/1YwafJ7 ).

Leaders of the Arlington, Virginia-based committee estimated they’ll spend $41,000 on newspaper advertisements and billboards during the next six months and said their efforts could be vital in what could be a close presidential race.

“The Amish and Mennonites are one of the most conservative blocs of potential votes you have in this country, and Republicans have done a very poor job over the years of doing that outreach,” said Ben Walters, the committee’s co-founder.

Analysts said it’s unclear whether Amish voters will support Donald Trump this fall.

“It’s very hard for me to know,” said Donald Kraybill, an authority on Amish and Mennonite communities and a retired professor at Elizabethtown College. “I think on the one hand they respect business leaders and they view him as a successful business leader. On the other hand his personal style and his sense of hubris and vanity are completely antithetical to Amish values of humility and so on.”

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Information from: LNP, http://lancasteronline.com

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