Donald Trump is set to hold a rally Tuesday in Austin, his first public event in Texas as the Republican presidential nominee.
Trump was already scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday for private fundraisers in Fort Worth and Austin. His campaign announced Friday he will also attend the rally, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Luedecke Arena.
While it is unusual for a presidential nominee to publicly campaign in safely red Texas, the Austin rally was not entirely unexpected. When Trump traveled to Texas as the presumptive nominee in June, he added two rallies, one in Dallas and the other in The Woodlands, to a trip otherwise centered on fundraising. While in Austin, Trump will also be fitting in a taping of a two-hour interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity at ACL Live at The Moody Theater.
Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler suggested Trump's decision to come to Austin, one of the most liberal parts of the state, showed he is working to grow the Republican Party.
"For Mr. Trump to come to Austin, the blueberry in the tomato soup that is Texas, should certainly ruffle the feathers of some very liberal politicians who are more concerned with being politically correct than addressing the many issues facing the citizens of Austin," Mechler said in a statement. "Mr. Trump’s visit will help broaden his popularity amongst Texas Republicans and further unite our Party as we inch closer to November."
While it is Trump's first trip to Texas as the nominee, not every prominent state Republican is expected to turn out. Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been cool in his support for Trump, is not able to attend the rally, Abbott spokesman John Wittman said. Abbott instead will be at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for ongoing treatment of burns he suffered while vacationing more than a month ago.
The most recent statewide official to come out in support of Trump, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, also is skipping the rally. Bush, who urged Texas Republicans to help elect Trump earlier this month at a party meeting, "will be unable to attend due to his schedule," Bush spokesman Kasey Pipes said.
There will still be some star power at the rally. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the most vocal Trump supporter in state government, plans to be there, as well as at Trump's two fundraisers, according to a Patrick spokesman, Allen Blakemore.
Trump's Tuesday trip will not be the only attention Texas is getting next week from the presidential campaigns. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is sending her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to fundraisers in Dallas and San Antonio on Thursday.
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