Crowds began gathering Monday morning at Lenoir-Rhyne University for presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 10 a.m. rally.
His event is the first in a series of presidential candidate visits in the Charlotte area Monday. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will each address Charlotte rallies. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rallied more than 3,000 supporters Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.
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At least 2,000 had already showed up by 8 a.m. for the Trump event.
Protesters gather for rally
About 80 protesters were among those who arrived early. In a statement from Lenoir-Rhyne University, organizers said they were working with the U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement to provide security but wouldn’t go into details.
“I’m here to support my people and to say I’m here to stay. No matter what he can’t deport 11 million people,” said Josefina Cazares, 23.
Another protester said she’s at the event for the same reason.
“I’m a student here at (Lenoir-Rhyne), and here they teach us to be great leaders. He doesn’t represent a great leader, so I disagree with him even being here,” said Lena Martinez, 19.
The Republican frontrunner’s events have been interrupted by protesters for months. Last week, the protests sparked physical violence.
Poll shows Trump with a wide lead
A Public Policy Polling survey released Sunday showed Trump with a wide lead in North Carolina. Trump had 44 percent to 33 percent for Cruz. Ohio Sen. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who have not campaigned in North Carolina, were trailing: 11 percent for Kasich and 4 percent for Rubio.