Register Guard - May 4, 2016
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump plans to hold a public rally in Eugene on Friday, say sources in his campaign. He may hold a second Oregon event, in the Portland area, on Saturday.
The events will still go ahead even though Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s main rival for the GOP nomination, dropped out of the race after Trump’s big win in Indiana’s primary Tuesday, a campaign source confirmed.
If the Friday-Saturday events happen, they would be Trump’s first in Oregon this campaign season and will essentially be something like a victory lap, since his path to the GOP nomination is now all but secured.
The Eugene event would occur in the evening, likely at 7 p.m., at the Lane Events Center. No rental contract for the venue was signed by the end of work day on Tuesday, the county said.
Details on the Trump events shifted Tuesday, as the campaign was still working to organize them. A potential rally in Medford was scrapped during the course of the day.
Trump had been scheduled to visit Oregon after the Wisconsin primary on April 5 but didn’t ultimately follow through, a campaign source said.
The Omaha, Okla., World-Herald reported Tuesday afternoon, also citing anonymous Trump campaign sources, that Trump will hold a rally there on Friday afternoon. It would take around 2 1/2 hours to fly the roughly 1,600 miles from Omaha to Eugene.
Trump’s rally would be the second visit by one of the five remaining Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to the Eugene/Springfield area in nine days. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders held a rally in Springfield last Thursday .
Ballots have already gone out for Oregon’s May 17 primary election.
Trump’s opponents, Cruz and John Kasich, announced a pact last month that would see Cruz not expend campaign resources in Oregon or New Mexico, in order to give Kasich a better chance to beat Trump head-to-head in both states. In exchange, Kasich agreed to pull back in the key state of Indiana.
The strategy was aimed at denying Trump the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on the convention’s first ballot.
But Trump’s big win in Indiana means it is only a matter of time until he reaches that threshold.
Kasich held two small town-hall-style meetings in Portland and Medford last week. But his campaign failed to send in the necessary materials to get included in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet , an embarrassing flub.
The first public poll of the race, done last week, found that Trump has a wide lead among Oregon GOP voters. Forty-three percent of respondents backed Trump, with 26 percent favoring Cruz and 17 percent supporting John Kasich. The poll, conducted by Portland-based Hoffman Research Group, found that 49 percent of GOP voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, versus 40 percent who had an unfavorable one.