Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump will hold a rally in Bangor on Wednesday.
It will be the New York City billionaire’s second trip to Maine after a Portland rally just before the state’s presidential caucuses in March, where he was introduced by Gov. Paul LePage, who has been a surrogate for Trump since a February endorsement.
Wednesday’s rally is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center, according to Trump’s website.
The Bangor setting is important.
While Democrat Hillary Clinton has led two statewide polls since March, Maine is one of two states to split Electoral College votes by congressional district and Trump’s chances are better in the more rural and conservative 2nd District.
A poll released Sunday by the Portland Press Herald found the race virtually tied in that district, with 30 percent of voters supporting him to 28 percent for Clinton.
The Bangor rally is also a sign that Trump may make good on his campaign’s promise to prioritize Maine in the 2016 race. The Associated Press reported in May that Trump would hire state directors by June in Maine and other states where Republicans have lost in the last six presidential cycles.
However, that hasn’t happened here yet and Trump’s organization is lagging well behind Clinton’s. The Republican had just under $1.3 million in his war chest as of May’s end, compared to more than $42 million for his Democratic rival.
The Republican also failed his first organizational test in the Maine caucuses, where supporters of primary rival Ted Cruz carried Cruz to a decisive win in the March caucuses, then stormed the state convention to hand the Texas senator’s supporters 19 of 23 national delegate spots as LePage and his staff whipped delegates on Trump’s behalf.
But the general election will be a different challenge. While Trump may be the underdog, he’ll likely focus on an anti-free trade agreement message that could resonate in parts of Maine that have seen mill closures and manufacturing job losses.
However, the Press Herald poll of just more than 600 Mainers found that both Clinton and Trump are highly unpopular throughout the state, with 62 percent having an unfavorable view of Trump to 57 percent for Clinton. This lines up with national figures on the race, which features the most unpopular candidates in at least 10 election cycles, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator and first lady, last visited Maine in September and lost the March caucuses to her main rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who held two rallies in Maine. The last Republican nominee to campaign in Maine was John McCain in July 2008.