COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Wednesday, boots were on the ground, armored trucks made their presence known and double-lined fencing snaked around the Statehouse.
The state heeded the warning from FBI officials that there could be protests during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
But those crowds never materialized. Less than a dozen people showed up with signs.
“You never know exactly what’s going to happen. We have credible threats directed at Ohio,” Gov. Mike DeWine said.
Ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, Gov. Mike DeWine deployed hundreds Ohio National Guard members to both the Statehouse and the Capitol. The hope was to get ahead of any potential events like the one that unfolded Jan. 6.
“I’m not here to protest the election,” said Kathy Sherman, a demonstrator who voted for former President Donald Trump. “I’m here to express my gratitude and my thanks to our non-political results, oriented businessman Donald Trump for the amazing list of accomplishments that he made happen.”
One protester was there to challenge the election, calling Trump’s defeat “stolen.”
The other participants were peaceful, wih some leading prayer circles and others hoping for a honk or two.
Among the few demonstrators were hundreds of law enforcement officers.
When asked how much all of this show of force was costing tax payers, staff Lt. Craig Cvetan of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, “Right now, we’re concerned with the safety of the Statehouse. I can’t give you any estimates of cost right now because of the way our payroll system works. We wouldn’t be able to calculate that until after this pay period is complete, which is Sunday.”
But he said an uneventful day is what they were all hoping for.
Late in the afternoon, a few dozen ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter protesters descended on the Statehouse in stand against far-right extremeists.
And while the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they don’t have a cost estimate for security this week, a National Guard spokeperson told reporters their costs topped $847,000.