Portage County board rejects proposed Trump rally at fairgrounds

In a statement, the board said their goal as a non-profit is to promote agriculture and that federal law prohibits them from getting involved in politics.

RAVENNA, Ohio — *EDITOR’S NOTE: The above video is from a previous story.

The Portage County Agricultural Society Board of Directors has turned down a request by former President Donald Trump to hold a rally later this month at the county’s fairgrounds in Atwater.

“[Those on the board] refer to bylaws which I have been unable to find,” Portage County Commissioner Anthony Badalamenti told 3News in an email. “Something about a 40-year tradition of not holding political rallies.”

The rally had been slated to take place at the end of this month. The agricultural board released the following statement Saturday:

“The Portage County Agricultural Society dba Randolph Fair is organized exclusively for charitable purposes, including, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations described under Section 501(C)(3) of the internal revenue code or corresponding section of any future The federal tax code. The purpose of this Society shall be to promote and encourage, horticulture, development of livestock, domestic industries, encouragement and promotion of junior fair and school exhibits, and the encouragement of all educational activities with the aim of building a better community. This shall be primarily accomplished through the promotion and organization of the annual county fair.

“Regarding a recent grounds rental request for a political rally:

  • Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly in participating, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

“Unfortunately, we regret that much of the information that has been reported to date has been inaccurate.

“Thank you for your support and understanding. We are looking forward to a successful 2022 Portage County Randolph Fair.”

According to NBC affiliate WFMJ 21 News in Youngstown, with the Portage County Fairgrounds out of the running as a potential venue, Trump’s team has turned its attention to the Mahoning Valley.

Officials from the Canfield Fairgrounds and Mahoning County GOP told 21 News that the Trump team wanted the rally to take place during the weekend of April 22, but the weekend is already booked. The station also reports that Trumbull County Republican officials have reached out to the Trump team about hosting an event.

In the summer of 2021, Trump held his first rally since leaving office at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington. The then-incumbent president won Ohio by eight points the year before with 55% support in Portage County, but ultimately lost the election to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5of7vXlqTU

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