Republican vice presidential candidate and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made a stop on the campaign trail Friday afternoon in Amherst.
Pence had lunch downtown with staff and his daughter, Charlotte, at Your Deli on Park Avenue.
Owner Debbie Dixon said she had been keeping the secret about the possible visit for about 24 hours.
“It was an honor,” she said. “I think he’s a very good man. He and his daughter were very nice and very down to earth. They engaged with my customers and wanted to talk with everyone there.”
Pence ordered chicken paprikash and wished Amherst mayor Mark Costilow a happy birthday.
“Somehow he knew about my birthday before we even met,” Costilow said. “He walked right up, wished me happy birthday, and signed one of his Trump-Pence posters for me. I had about a minute with him. He sat down with several groups of people and seemed very genuine. He was very focused on the people he was sitting with. He seemed like a very gentlemanly person.”
Costilow said the city was not notified about the visit until the last minute.
“They typically don’t let communities like us know very much in advance and we had very little notice,” he said. “It was business as usual at the deli and then the buses pulled in. The public that was in there were screened by the Secret Service before Gov. Pence walked in. Other people passing by saw what was going on. They got screened and went on in too. It was very full by the time they left.”
He said residents should feel enthusiasm about Pence’s stop no matter who they’re voting for in November.
“No matter what you think about the two candidates or what side of the political fence you’re on, it’s a great opportunity and great honor to have one of them think enough of little old Amherst to stop by. It’s pretty exciting.”
The Ohio State Highway Patrol blocked off the intersection of Park Avenue and state Rt. 58 as the candidate’s motorcade left the area.
This is not the first time Amherst’s downtown eateries have drawn the attention of U.S. presidential candidates. President Barack Obama stopped for a beer and some hand-shaking in July 2012 while running for re-election, choosting Ziggy’s Pub & Restaurant, also on Park Avenue.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Courtesy photos Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, running mate of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, had lunch Friday afternoon at Your Deli on Park Avenue.