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Trump to return to western Pennsylvania before Nov. 8 election

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on May 6, 2022.
Jeff Swensen
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on May 6, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump is set to return to Westmoreland County just three days before the November 8 election.

Trump will be coming to Latrobe "in support of his unprecedented effort to advance the MAGA agenda by energizing voters and highlighting the slate of Trump Endorsed America First candidates, including Doug Mastriano for Governor and Dr. Mehmet Oz for United States Senate," according to a statement from his post-presidential political committee.

The rally is set to begin at 7 p.m. after the former president arrives at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

Trump last visited Westmoreland County for a political rally in May, when the Republican primary was just a couple weeks away. HIs effort to weigh in this time will come even closer to the general election.

The statement Wednesday pointedly noted that Trump's endorsement record in the state this year is 8-0, though those endorsements were all made in the Republican primary. Trump's ability to pick winners in the fall remains untested.

But his efforts on behalf of Mastriano and Oz this year have been notable: His backing of Oz in the primary has been credited with conferring legitimacy on a candidate whose conservative bona fides and Pennsylvania roots were doubted by many Republicans.

Trump also joined in a tele-town hall to stoke enthusiasm for Mastriano in late September, just a few weeks after he held a rally on behalf of both candidates in Wilkes-Barre.

Mastriano has long been a champion of Trump's efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, and recently sued the Congressional commission seeking to investigate the January 6 uprisingby Trump supporters — an event Mastriano himself attended.. Oz, meanwhile, muted mentions of Trump in stump speeches and online branding shortly after winning the primary — though during a Tuesday-night debate, he confirmed he would support Trump's anything-but-secret aspirations for a 2024 Presidential run.

Trump's statement described the visit as part of the "America First Movement," which it contends "offers the Keystone State an alternative vision for America: safe streets, cheap gas, low inflation, and a thriving American economy."

During previous rallies, Trump has often discussed at length his own years-old grievances with the outcome of the 2020 election, which he has falsely attributed to election fraud, and teased his own ambitions for another run. He has previously spoken caustically of the Democrats at the top of the ballot, having called gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro "a total lightweight" and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman "a raging lunatic."

On occasion, Trump has also used the rallies to touch on the merits of the Republican ticket itself. He may well do so again next Saturday. 

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.