The plan is for Donald Trump, the GOP presidential candidate, to do three rallies: one in Spokane, one near Vancouver, and one somewhere in the Puget Sound region.
Donald Trump says he’ll campaign in Washington state in early May, telling supporters if he wins the primary here, “It’s going to be over.”
The Republican presidential front-runner revealed his plans to a group of cheering supporters in Vancouver, Clark County, over a cellphone speaker Thursday night, telling them he’d like to visit May 7.
“I want to be there. I want to be there with you folks,” Trump told the group, which included his state campaign chairman, state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver. Video of his call was posted on Facebook by a supporter.
Fresh off a landslide win in New York, Trump predicted he’ll also prevail in five upcoming contests next week. He boasted he’ll outperform 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who “blew it because he choked.”
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There are 44 delegates at stake in Washington’s GOP primary May 24, and Trump told supporters the state could prove crucial in his march to locking up the Republican nomination.
“I’ll tell you what, if we can win Washington, it’s going to be over, because we’re taking it as a neutral, which I hate to do. If we end up winning that, I think it’s going to be over,” Trump said. “If we can win Washington, we will win it all, and I will never forget you people.”
The small crowd listening in chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as the call ended.
Trump’s exact plans in Washington have not been announced, but state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who is also working on the Trump campaign, said the plan is for the New York businessman to do three rallies: one in Spokane, one near Vancouver and one somewhere in the Puget Sound region.
The visit by the GOP front-runner is sure to draw protests from an array of activists, given his catalog of inflammatory statements, including calls for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and labeling Latino immigrants rapists and drug dealers.
“Let’s shut this down #seattle. Peacefully but loudly,” tweeted David Rolf, president of SEIU 775, the politically potent home health-care worker union, in response to news of Trump’s planned visit.
Trump also has been controversial among some local Republicans. Some notable GOP figures, including former state Attorney General Rob McKenna, have declared they could not vote for him.
Ballots for Washington’s May 24 primary will be mailed out May 6.
Supporters of Trump’s rivals, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have said they also hope to see them campaign here before the primary.
So far, Cruz’s campaign has been more organized in the state and has worked early GOP caucus meetings to get supporters elected as delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Those delegates will be bound on a first convention vote according to the results of the state primary. But if Trump fails to achieve a majority on that first ballot, the state GOP delegates would be free to defect to the candidate of their choice.
Ericksen said the Trump campaign is focused on winning the primary to help their candidate secure the GOP nomination on a first ballot.