Trump, Biden supporters take to the streets in Erie

By: - November 7, 2020 5:17 pm

ERIE, Pa. — Shortly after Pennsylvania was called for for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday morning, people started taking to the sidewalks outside the Erie County courthouse. 

As the projected President-Elect has touted a message of unity to end the stark political division between Americans, area residents  literally separated themselves on either side of 6th Street. 

On the north side, roughly 50 supporters of President Donald Trump took turns speaking into a microphone from the courthouse steps, calling for an election recount and praying. On the south side of the street, people gathered in similar numbers to sing, celebrate and chant: “USA! USA!” 

“I’m here just because I believe in Donald Trump and I believe he was screwed out of his election,” Pam Bair, of Millcreek Township, an Erie suburb, told the Capital-Star. 

“I’m so fed up, so disgusted. I support him. I will support him to no end,” Bair continued. She stood on the west end of the sidewalk with her daughter — who denied comment. “I believe we don’t need a recount. I believe we need a re-vote,” Bair said.

The mood of Trump supporters was frustrated and vaguely somber. 

Across the street the crowd maintained a much different energy. Demonstrators on the south side of 6th Street turned out, “because love has won today; The love for democracy, the love of unity, the love of inclusion,” Jason C. Brendel, of Erie,  told the Capital-Star.  

“Everyone has come together today because guess what? We are in the county that has been most watched by the world. Erie County went blue, the commonwealth went blue today, and so did the nation. So we, in Erie County, we made a difference,” Brendel said. Brendel is an Erie County LGBT Democrat Committee Member, among other positions in the community. 

“The voters came out, the volunteers came out,” he told the Capital-Star, “and the best thing is: We are no longer red states, we are no longer blue states. We are no longer Republicans, we are no longer Democrats. We are ‘We the People.’”

To some of the people though, “None of this seems fair,” Bair told the Capital-Star. 

It doesn’t sit right with Greg Hayes either, who addressed the crowd on the courthouse steps. Hayes was the Republican write-in candidate for state House. He lost to incumbent Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie.

It’s not about the election, he told the Capital-Star; “It’s just about a fair, actual ballot [count]. It’s pretty hard when you win on the day of, and then it more than reverses with the write-ins. Well, obviously, common sense would say you wanna look at the write-ins.”

By “write-ins,” Hayes meant mail-in ballots. 

Yet, “All of the disputes, the legal challenges, they’ve been baseless and most of them have been thrown out. They don’t have any evidence and there’s no reason to call for a recount,” Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Jim Wertz, told the Capital-Star. “Here in Erie County in particular — and I think throughout the state — Joe Biden will be well beyond the threshold of a recount.”

“So if the Trump campaign wants a recount,” Wertz said, “they’re gonna have to call for it and they’re gonna have to pay for it.”

Unofficial election tallies by the Pennsylvania Department of State show Biden leading Trump with 3,344,182 votes to 3,310,423. In Erie County, unofficial tallies show Biden leading Trump by 1,499 votes cast either by mail-in ballots or on Election Day. Erie County has yet to count provisional ballots.

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