By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — During his fourth visit to New Hampshire since winning the first in the nation presidential primary and and his second since becoming the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump will hold a rally at Laconia Middle School tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m.
According to the announcement made by the Trump campaign on Wednesday, Trump will speak “on a variety of topics pertaining to the 2016 presidential election.”
Most recently, Trump addressed rallies in Windham and Manchester in at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester in August and earlier spoke to the issue of national security at Saint Anselm College and held a question-and-answer session on trade policy at the closed Osram Sylvania plant in Manchester. This will be Trump’s second appearance in Laconia. In July 2015, during the primary campaign, Trump drew a large crowd to the Weirs Community Center.
Trump’s popularity among Republican voters in Belknap County is unmatched. In the GOP primary in February Trump carried every ward in the city and every town in the county, topping his nearest rival, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, by a margin of more than two-to-one on his way to winning the primary with 35 percent of the vote..
New Hampshire is considered one of a number of so-called battleground states, where the result could affect the outcome of the presidential election. Before the party conventions in June the average of polls reported by Real Clear Politics showed Trump trailing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, by margins of as much as 12 points. After the convention, Clinton’s lead shrank to less than three points then widened to nearly 10 points and now stands at five points.
Trump can expect an enthusiastic welcome. By almost every measure Belknap County is the most Republican in the state. The GOP holds all of the county’s 18 seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, including many representatives who are strong Trump supporters, and all three of the seats on the county commission.
While many voters have warmed to Trump, New Hampshire remains home to one of his harshest critics, former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey of Chichester, while Kelly Ayotte, seeking to hold her seat in the United States Senate, is the most prominent among a number of Republican candidates who have chosen to fasten on their own campaigns and distance themselves from the presidential contest.
Trump’s appearance follows on the heels of unveiling his plan for child and elder care, which features six weeks of paid leave for new mothers and excluding the cost of child care from taxation.
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