SANTA FE – The national political spotlight is returning to New Mexico, if just for a few hours. GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump will hold a Sunday evening campaign rally in Albuquerque.
The Republican nominee, who also visited the Duke City for a May rally that drew 8,000 people and touched off raucous late-night protests, will hold the public rally at 7 p.m. at Atlantic Aviation, 2505 Clark Carr Loop SE, by the Albuquerque International Sunport, according to Trump’s campaign website. People can register for tickets here. Gates will open at 4 p.m.
A senior Trump aide said the campaign’s internal polling shows the race between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to be a “dead heat” in New Mexico, despite numerous previous polls that showed Clinton holding a comfortable lead.
Registered Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans in New Mexico, and President Barack Obama, a Democrat, won the state – and its five electoral votes – by a comfortable margin in both 2008 and 2012.
A Journal Poll conducted in late September showed Clinton receiving the support of 35 percent of likely state voters, compared with 31 percent for Trump. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, pulled in 24 percent among voters surveyed for that poll.
Clinton has not held any public campaign events in New Mexico during this year’s election cycle, though several high-profile backers – including former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and her husband, former President Bill Clinton – have stumped for her in the state.
Meanwhile, Trump’s decision to hold a campaign rally in New Mexico just nine days before the Nov. 8 election is also sure to increase scrutiny of Gov. Susana Martinez, a two-term Republican who did not attend his May rally in Albuquerque.
Trump criticized the governor during that event, and Martinez responded by saying she would not be “bullied” into supporting a candidate.
More recently, Martinez said this month that she would not support Trump for president after a leaked 2005 videotape showed the Republican presidential nominee boasting about kissing and groping women without consent, though she stopped short of saying she would not vote for him.
Trump is also appearing in other Southwestern states this weekend. He will be in both Colorado and Arizona today and will make a stop in Las Vegas, Nev., earlier in the day Sunday, according to his official campaign website.