Bellwether in A Storm

Ohio's Montgomery County, where the candidates are running neck and neck, is an American microcosm

DOWNTOWN DAYTON MAY NOT BE quite dead yet, but by dusk Ohio's sixth largest city is pretty much out cold for the night. With office vacancies at 22%, the evening rush hour is largely a function of urgency rather than congestion: nobody wants to be caught downtown after dark. By 6 Elder-Beerman, the last big department store since Lazarus closed its doors in January, is nearly empty. Outside a few remaining stragglers hurry to catch buses for the outlying suburbs and strip malls, leaving behind an uneasy mix of panhandlers, police and security guards. The only other substantial signs of life...

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