Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman spoke at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Seneca County, an event sponsored by the Seneca County Republican Party. (Seneca County is just south of Sandusky.) Before the event, Portman’s staff made the decision to check the political party registration of each attendee and then deny entry to event-goers who were registered as Democrats, according to the Columbus Dispatch
Registered Democrats' tickets were refunded for the event, and those people weren’t allowed in. Outside, hundreds gathered together and protested the unexpected decision, as the News-Messenger reports
. More than a few people chanted "Shame" at the registered Republicans walking into the event.
It’s possible, of course, that after seeing the town halls all over the U.S. where constituents showed up in great numbers
to ask questions of their Republican representatives, Portman and his camp didn’t want the same thing to happen to them. Compared to past congressional recesses each February, this year has seen a lot of Republicans straight-up hiding
from their base.
David Koehl, treasurer of the Seneca County Republican Party, did not agree with Portman’s decision to ban Democrats. He told the Dispatch
, “It's my personal opinion that these people should be allowed in. Portman and his office are afraid protesters will show up. They made this decision a week ago, but several people have been refunded on short notice."
The idea that elected officials only represent those who voted for them is a dangerous precedent, but it’s not difficult to trace the influence of this sentiment, as the president himself has been fairly open about this idea.
At last week’s bizarre press conference, President Donald Trump said, “They (protesters) fill up our rallies with people that, you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that the representatives are representing.”
Portman’s office did not respond to a request from Scene
to comment on the matter.