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With four months to go until divided America decides the presidential race, voters in the heartland are focused on an economy in trouble, the unending coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice.

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Donald Trump launched his 2020 presidential campaign in Florida this week with the kind of fiery talk that endears him to many across the Effingham area and angers his local detractors.

Despite the inflammatory mixture of fact, fear and lies that has woven its way deeply into America’s body politic, there are few signs of significantly shifting attitudes in the heartland on who should be elected the nation’s president in 2020.

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Supporters of President Trump from across the Effingham region cheered Thursday's release of the much-anticipated, redacted report on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying it exonerates a president who has been unfair…

Gage Payne, 17, will vote for the first time in November. He is a student at Effingham High School and wants to be a emergency medical technician after graduation. He is employed at Panda Express in Effingham.

Vickie Dasenbrock owns a bar in Newton and teaches yoga in both Newton and Effingham. She is a Democrat with strong opinions against President Donald Trump.

Madison Storm, 17, will be a couple weeks shy and won't be eligible to vote on Nov. 6. She works at Panda Express and is a student at Effingham High School.

A Republican first, turned Democrat later, Shirley McEvers grew up in the Effingham-area, then spent some years in Ohio raising her family.

Jim Harvey, 69, was born in Vincennes, Indiana, but grew up in Carlyle, Illinois. He attended Eastern Illinois University and John Marshall Law School. After graduating from law school he moved from Des Plaines, Illinois to Effingham. He is retired as an associate judge for the Fourth Judici…

An Effingham resident, Marilyn Wirth, 66, retired as a bank teller after first raising her four children in the Chicago-area. Later, she and her late husband, Bob, retired to Lake Sara in 2004. He died in 2012. She now works part-time at an after-school program associated with the Sacred Hea…

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The political landscape in Effingham and Shelby counties is being shaped by the political force that is President Donald Trump. Its rippling contours are evident in the increasingly vibrant voices raised to defend and attack him.

When it comes to politics, Effingham County is a sea of red in a state of blue. That’s not to say viewpoints from across the political spectrum don’t exist here.

Donald Trump has never really hit it off with Hannah Hirl but now he needs her more than ever as he strives to overcome what opinion polls show is a growing gender gap dogging his presidency.

Lloyd Dean, 76, of Heartville, refers to himself as an independent voter with conservative leanings. In particular, he is passionate about the Second Amendment and the use of the death penalty.

Stephen McNaughton, 38, of Effingham describes himself as a Democratic-leaning independent voter who was previously a self-described Republican.

Pat Smith, 81, of Effingham, is a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for a Republican.

Larry Banbury, 82, of Effingham, says he is a former Democrat turned Republican after a former boss persuaded him to flip his party affiliation.

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As presidential terms go, this last 15 months have been unprecedented, altering political norms and jolting the nation with President Donald Trump’s drama-packed mission to make haste on his campaign promises and waste of his antagonists.

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It’s a warmer-than-usual March morning in rural Beecher City when Dallas Buzzard and his wife, Sherry, welcome a group of coffee drinkers to their home. On the kitchen table sit two boxes of locally made glazed doughnuts.

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