Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: October 4, 2016 6:02 a.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign rally at the Prescott Valley Event Center starts at 2 p.m. today, Oct. 4, but if you haven’t grabbed your free ticket online already, you’re out of luck.
The tickets, which were still available Sunday night, were all downloaded by early afternoon Monday.
Gary Spiker, general manager of the Event Center, said the facility can accommodate a large crowd in this configuration.
“The whole floor is standing area,” he said, which will allow about 7,500 people to attend. Even more will be able to view Trump’s speech from an overflow area, where a large TV screen will also show the rally. The TV will face the small parking lot near the team store.
Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog said he will definitely be there.
“I think he’s going to put together stuff we’re going to need for the next four years,” Skoog said. “I look at what’s been done the last couple of years, and I don’t think we want to go through more of that.”
Skoog listed the alleged cash-for-Iranian-hostages deal, Obamacare, the current administration’s push for alternative energy at the expense of jobs, and “spending the budget into oblivion” as reasons why he would like to see a Trump presidency.
“I’ll be going” to the rally, Prescott Mayor Harry Oberg said. “I might be on the stage – they’ve asked for some veterans to come up there to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.” Oberg served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard for 33 years.
“He’s going to find a lot of support here,” Oberg said. “It’s great to have him come in and talk to us.”
State Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, will be there, too. Campbell said that, while Trump is “not a perfect vessel,” and “kind of shoots himself in the foot, we need change and Hillary (Clinton) is not going to give it to us … he might do it.
“Being a Republican, he’s our nominee, I do support him,” Campbell said.
Rumors of Trump protesters, including members of the Black Lives Matter movement, being brought here on buses from Phoenix, swirled on social media websites over the weekend.
Prescott Valley Police spokesman Sgt. Jason Kaufman said there would be no “corral” for protesters. Instead, they “will be asked to demonstrate peacefully in common areas,” Kaufman said, noting that there would be a designated area – south of Florentine, directly across from the Event Center –that protesters can use “if they would like to.”
One local group planning to demonstrate is from the Community Strategy Center at Prescott College. In a statement issued Monday, the group said, “We will not allow Donald Trump to spread hatred in Yavapai (County) without standing up and answering back.
“As residents of Yavapai County, we resoundingly reject the politics, culture, and rhetoric of hatred promoted by Donald Trump,” the group stated. “We reject this view of the world that insists citizens of the United States live in constant fear.”
Monday morning, reaction among people on the courthouse plaza to Trump’s visit was mixed.
“I’m going to try to go,” said David Baber of Prescott Valley. “He’s upfront with everything he’s saying, and we’ve got a liar on the other side. I truly believe she’s the biggest liar that’s ever been in politics. I believe in everything that Donald is saying.”
“We don’t support him, and we’re not going to the rally,” said John Gomes of Prescott. “He doesn’t have enough experience. It’s a little different running businesses and running a country.”
Then again, Gomes said, “I don’t support Hillary (Clinton) either, but she’s the lesser of two evils.”
“That pretty awesome that he’s coming, actually,” said James Wilson of Prescott. “He’s got some neat ideas, but he gets kind of wild, with his banter.”
The doors for the 2 p.m. rally open at 11 a.m. The visit will be Trump’s sixth to Arizona.
The rally is the same day and a few hours earlier than when Trump’s vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, squares off against Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine, in the first and only vice presidential debate. The VP debate, in Virginia, will be televised on the major TV networks and CNN, among others, beginning at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).