Ohio GOP chairman who warred with Trump is voting for him

CINCINNATI — After public doubt and turmoil, Ohio's GOP chairman has decided to vote for his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Chairman Matt Borges, an ally of Trump critic John Kasich, helped the Trump campaign set up in swing-state Ohio after the New York billionaire secured the nomination. Still, he had remained vocal in his frustration with Trump's controversial and offensive rhetoric. As some Republicans rescinded their support for Trump this month, Borges shared his indecision over whether to vote for the Republican nominee, weighing his options as he and his wife watched the second presidential debate.

On Sunday, Borges made his decision.

"I will be supporting a straight Republican ticket — starting with Donald Trump for President," he wrote in an email to Ohio Republican insiders, which was obtained by The Cincinnati Enquirer. "A Hillary Clinton presidency would be a disaster for our country."

In a statement to The Enquirer, Borges, a possible candidate for national GOP chairman, said he had chosen Trump after taking some time to consider developments from the past week or two.

"The prospect of her winning is just unacceptable to me," Borges said of Clinton.

The presidential race is a dead heat in Ohio, historically the most important swing-state for Republicans. Borges attracted attention when he emphasized his indecision as recently as a week ago Friday, as allegations surfaced that Trump had kissed or groped women without their consent.

Last weekend, he found himself in a public feud with the Trump campaign and its Ohio director, Bob Paduchik. In a letter to the Ohio Republican Party's governing body, Paduchik cut off ties with Borges, accusing him of a "self-promotional media tour."

Borges defended himself, emphasizing the assistance he and the party had given the Trump campaign. But the state party later found itself in damage control after a conservative blog reported the party's executive director, Katie Eagan, had created a fake, crude Twitter handle mocking Paduchik. Borges told Cleveland.com Eagan made a "bad decision," which "was dealt with immediately."

Borges said he had not spoken with Trump in the last week, but he had openly discussed past conversations with Trump. In those, he said he gave Trump feedback about toning down his rhetoric and advised him to avoid public feuds with Ohio Republican officials who don't support him.

Borges has seen a different side of Trump than some see publicly, he said Sunday.

"He's listened. He's taken advice. I haven't agreed with everything he's said, and I've said so — even to him," Borges said. "In all my interactions with him, it appears he's been honest with me, which is something I know Hillary is incapable of."

Follow Chrissie Thompson on Twitter: @CThompsonENQ


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