Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is planning a Thursday rally in Portland with Maine enjoying swing-state status in his tight race with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Trump campaign has booked the Portland Expo for an afternoon campaign stop on Oct. 6, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin. Details on the time and format of the event haven’t been released and a Maine Republican Party spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of the event.
It would be Trump’s fourth visit to Maine this campaign cycle three days before the next planned presidential debate. He was last here in early August for a rally at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium. He was in Bangor in late June and rallied at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel ahead of Maine’s March caucuses.
Maine hasn’t voted for a Republican in a presidential election since 1988, but it may be Trump’s best bet to win in territory controlled by President Barack Obama in 2012. That’s because it’s one of two states that allocates Electoral College votes by congressional district. Each district is worth one and the statewide winner gets two.
Trump is dominating in the more rural and conservative 2nd District, where three straight September polls have found him 10 or more percentage points ahead, including one from the Portland Press Herald that pegged his lead at 15 points.
However, Clinton leads by four points here in the latest Real Clear Politics average, bolstered by a large lead in the reliably liberal 1st District. That leaves Maine’s statewide electors in the balance.
The Republican hasn’t spent much money in Maine so far, but that may soon change: The Associated Press reported last week that it was one of 13 states in an upcoming $140 million round of TV and digital ad purchases, but Maine stations haven’t seen that money yet.
Trump was in neighboring New Hampshire on Thursday as part of an effort to bolster support in that northern New England swing state. The latest poll there shows Clinton ahead by seven points.