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As Trump's Poll Numbers Slide, Campaign Targets Ohio Working-Class Voters

M L SCHULTZE, BYLINE: I'm M.L. Schultze in Ohio. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio, so we've been seeing Donald Trump a lot here. He'll be in Akron Monday - his second visit to Northeast Ohio in just a week. Bob Paduchik, the state director for the Trump campaign, says they need to mobilize thousands of working-class voters.

BOB PADUCHIK: The best way for us to do that is for through the candidate, Mr. Trump himself. That's why we have him here so much, and I expect we'll continue to see him here in Ohio.

SCHULTZE: But do check isn't sharing too many details about Trump's Ohio campaign. But for months, Trump was lagging Clinton in campaign offices, ads and staff. In addition, Trump is running without the endorsement of the state's most popular office holder, Governor John Kasich, and the at-best tepid support of many other high-profile Republicans.

Tracey Winbush is the state's central committee treasurer. She was a fierce critic of Trump before Ohio's March primary, but she's come around, and she says Trump loyalists are taking over.

TRACEY WINBUSH: The Ohio Republican Party is working actively with the Donald Trump campaign to win the election. Now, the same people may not be working, but that was their choice.

SCHULTZE: The stronger relationship, however, appears to be between the Trump campaign and county parties. Earlier this month, the campaign announced he's opening 16 new offices with more to come. Many of those headquarters are sharing space with county Republican parties. That's the case in Youngstown where Trump made his most recent Ohio campaign stop.

DONNA BRICKER: If you notice, the regional chamber gave us the 3D-printed bobble head doll of Trump.

SCHULTZE: Mahoning County chairwoman Donna Bricker holds the hand of the life-size Trump. She's worked on Republican campaigns since she was a girl and Eisenhower was running and says she supported Trump before it was cool. Also sharing the space is Thomas Batten (ph), a Trump volunteer here from Indiana. He and Bricker say voters are excited.

THOMAS BATTEN: I get my lists of people to go to, and they're very receptive to Trump.

BRICKER: If we run out of shirts or buttons or hats, they - they're - when am I going to get them? They're excited. When can I come back? How long are you open?

SCHULTZE: Trump's Ohio campaign has been adding staff recently. And for the first time, it had a response team set up outside a Hillary Clinton event this past week. But state director Paduchik says the strength of the campaign remains the same - the enthusiasm of Trump's supporters. For NPR News, I'm M.L. Schultze in Akron, Ohio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.