Richmond MAGA Rally

President Donald Trump points to the crowd during the make America great again rally on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

A Kentucky election has once again drawn national attention and the attention of the president.

President Donald Trump will visit Kentucky to host a campaign rally ahead of the gubernatorial election on November 5.

The “Keep America Great” rally, paid for by Trump’s re-election campaign, is expected to help buoy support for Gov. Matt Bevin’s gubernatorial reelection bid.

Bevin, the current governor, is facing challenger Andy Beshear in what polls are showing as a tight race.

President Trump’s rally will be held on November 4, the day before the election, in Rupp Arena.

Rupp Arena is requesting that no one begin lining up before 8 a.m. on Sunday, November 3.

The doors will open at 4 p.m. on November 4, with the rally beginning at 7 p.m.

Kayla Bell, a UK student, thinks some students will go to the rally because of Bevin.

“I think they will just because I know a lot of people that feel very strongly about Bevin, whether that be good or bad. I think they’re also interested to see – they’ve probably seen that Trump has endorsed Bevin saying that he’s good, so I think that’ll be something interesting to see,” Bell said.

The president has endorsed Bevin via tweet a couple of times over the last month. A presidential tweet on October 15, called the incumbent candidate “strong on crime and the border!”

Bell, a sophomore and human health sciences major, was encouraged to attend the rally by her health policy professor because of the relevant health care topics. While Bell has not decided if she will attend, she does think the rally will influence the gubernatorial race.

“Everything like that influences the election just because the media surrounding it is also going to play a part," Bell said. "Especially with college students, because we get a lot of our news from the media.” 

Heidi Garcia, a freshman political science student, said she thinks the president’s endorsement will help Bevin.

“I feel like [it] helps with voting just because I feel like a lot of people don’t get educated on certain things, so just because a current sitting president is endorsing someone else they say ‘oh, I’ll do that too,'” said Garcia.

The president previously endorsed Republican Rep. Andy Barr in the 2018 election of Kentucky’s sixth congressional district, holding a rally in Richmond at Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum.

Now, Trump will take the stage in Rupp Arena.

The rally is expected to draw people from all over, but one potential demographic is a lot closer to home: UK students.

With the rally held just downtown from campus and tickets free to register, UK students could easily attend the president’s rally and get a taste of both the gubernatorial and presidential elections.

Sophomore Olivia Bateman had not heard about the Trump rally, but frequently sees advertisements for the gubernatorial election on online streaming services like Hulu.

“I haven’t really read [about] the two cause I just see the commercials and always the commercials are like ‘this guy’s horrible’, ‘this guy is horrible’, so I’ll read into it more, but after that I think I know who I want,” said Bateman after learning about Trump’s endorsement of Bevin.

Bateman said she didn’t like the idea of the Trump rally, but thinks at least some UK students will attend.

“I bet some people will go, but I doubt for Matt Bevin,” said Bateman.

“I think it just increases your perspective on affairs of the government, politics,” said Victor DiOrio of any political event like the upcoming rally. DiOrio, a junior economics/political science student, had heard about the event from a friend who is planning to go.

 “I don’t know if students will attend, but I think a lot probably desire to attend,” said DiOrio, who noted that UK has a lot of conservative students.

“I feel like the people who support Matt Bevin and Donald Trump are one and the same,” said DiOrio. He said he felt like the rally will strongly influence the election.

“This late in the election, I feel like there are a lot of people who are kind of set in who they want to vote for,” said freshman Charles Pemberton of the rally’s influence. “But then again, I’m not really that in the loop yet with this whole election so it could sway me.”

Pemberton, a computer science major, said he had both Democrat and Republican friends who were going to the rally because it was such a big deal.

“I feel like just how politically charged it’s going to be, that’s why a lot of people are going to go,” said Pemberton.

The potential for high attendance has city officials preparing for the arrival of over 10,000 people into Lexington.

10,000 is the threshold at which the city provides extra police officers, explained Mayor Linda Gorton in a Facebook post. This additional police presence is not necessarily for event security. Traffic is the greatest concern, as roads will be shut down for the president’s arrival.

The city of Lexington will pay the extra cost for additional police presence, said Mayor Gorton in the Facebook post. She said there is no law that allows the city to charge campaigns for these overtime costs.

The Trump re-election campaign paid for the rental of Rupp Arena, said Gorton’s Facebook post, and the Lexington Center is required to rent the space to any lawful organization if the date is available.

Rupp Arena’s website says they expect “significant traffic impacts to the area” on the day of the rally, and provides a link to the city’s traffic ticker.

“Specific event road closures, including any decisions regarding necessary traffic changes on surrounding streets and highways, will be determined by the U.S. Secret Service, not the City of Lexington or Rupp Arena,” reads Rupp Arena’s event page.

Rally goers are expected to line up for general admittance in the High Street parking area.