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Protesters rally at Bloomberg Athens office opening

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Mike Bloomberg signs. Photo by Eric Boll.

A group of nine people protested the opening of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s Athens campaign office on Saturday.

The office, located at 9 W. Stimson Ave., is the first presidential campaign office open in Athens for the 2020 election.

The protesters, holding signs that displayed misogynistic statements Bloomberg made in the past, said they believe the candidate is a masked Republican running on a Democratic ticket and that he is a more polite version of President Donald Trump.

Student protesters holding signs with grievances against Bloomberg. Photo by Eric Boll.

Ohio University student Kailee Missler, said that Bloomberg is not the right choice for the Democratic nomination.

“People will not vote if they do not believe in the candidate that they put up there, and people will not vote if they believe the primary process is corrupt,” Missler said.

Protester holding sign at Bloomberg office. Photo by Eric Boll.
Protester holding sign at Bloomberg office. Photo by Eric Boll.

Another protester, Brian Everett, an Ohio U student, believes democracy will be compromised if Bloomberg is chosen as the Democratic nominee.

“If Mike becomes the candidate and we have to choose between him and Trump, then basically we are no longer a republic, but a financial monarchy with whatever king having the most money getting to rule, and I am not here for that,” Everett said.

Bloomberg 2020 shirts and signs. Photo by Eric Boll.
Bloomberg 2020 shirts and signs. Photo by Eric Boll.

Inside the office, those in support of Bloomberg discussed his tenure as mayor of New York City and how he cares for American citizens.

Bloomberg recently endured criticism because of the “stop-and-frisk” policies he implemented as mayor, which incentivized police to heavily target black and Latino men, according to The New York Times.

“Mike came through, and what he did was listen. We put together a round table of folks in our community that have been affected personally by the opioid epidemic,” Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney said, recounting his experience when he met Bloomberg in December.

“I was impressed by his empathy,” Feeney added. “Mike sat there and he listened. He listened to families and he asked them important questions. You could tell he really wanted to know how southern Ohio was affected.” 

Feeney holding his daughter. Photo by Eric Boll.
Feeney holding his daughter. Photo by Eric Boll.

Mya Lin, an Athens resident and a member of the Bloomberg Foundation, said Bloomberg cares for people and fights the problems that are hurting the U.S. like opioids, climate change and guns.

Mya Lin during her speech. Photo by Eric Boll.
Mya Lin during her speech. Photo by Eric Boll.

 

The common theme among both Bloomberg supporters and dissenters is that the party needs to unite under a candidate who can stop Trump from winning reelection.

Martha Wiemer, an Athens resident, was excited to show her support at the Bloomberg office.

“I want Trump gone, and that’s what everybody wants is Trump gone,” Wiemer said. “And Bloomberg excites me because I believe he is the person who can do it. That’s why I’m here.”

Bloomberg supporter holding lawn sign. Photo by Eric Boll.
Bloomberg supporter holding lawn sign. Photo by Eric Boll.

“The campaign has such great momentum right now, and we have a room full of people from this community who are united in this effort is absolutely wonderful and we are very excited about it,” Meredith Tucker, Bloomberg 2020’s Ohio communications director, said at the end of the event.

Tucker spoke about the office’s purpose:

“Our team on the ground here will be working every single day to talk with voters, whether it’s through a phone call, door knocks or engaging with the community and making sure they are registered to vote and are able to vote on Election Day.”

Bloomberg, who will not appear on the primary ballots in both Nevada and South Carolina, is targeting Super Tuesday contests and beyond, including Ohio. The candidate is polling at 14.2% in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, placing him only behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders respectively.

Staff Writer Eric Boll contributed to this report.

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