President Donald Trump is headed to New Mexico later this month.
The Republican president will make his first appearance in the state as president. He will travel to Rio Rancho, a conservative suburb of Albuquerque, and hold a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center, a 6,000-seat arena that holds 7,500 for concerts according to his campaign website.
The rally comes over a year before the general election and nine months ahead of New Mexico’s primaries, which come late in the campaign cycle. Trump is facing two primary opponents, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh, but is likely to win the primary with overwhelming numbers.
“We’re excited that President Trump and his team see New Mexico as a state they can flip,” Republican Party of New Mexican chairman Steve Pearce said. “We believe that New Mexicans fed up with the socialist left agenda and we are ready to stand with the President as he leads us to victory in 2020.”
Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Marg Elliston said, “New Mexicans deserve a president who celebrates and appreciates all of the hardworking people who keep our country moving forward. Our state does not support this administration’s un-American agenda, and Democrats will be loud and clear in our opposition to President Trump’s hateful rhetoric.”
WInning New Mexico in the general election will be a tougher task, although his campaign has frequently said New Mexico is a state that is winnable for the first-term president. A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won the state since 2004, when incumbent George W. Bush narrowly defeated John Kerry, but just under 6,000 votes.
Trump made multiple trips to New Mexico in 2016 during his first campaign for president. Trump ultimately lost the state to Hillary Clinton by over 8 percentage points, though Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, received the support of over 9 percent of New Mexicans.