Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Nation & World

Trump vows to win most-Hispanic state in 2020 at rally

Vowing to win the New Mexico vote next year, Trump heralded surging oil production in New Mexico and decreasing unemployment nationwide among Hispanics.
People stand in line outside the Santa Ana Star Center arena awaiting the start of President Donald Trump's rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Officials with Trump's campaign said they are working to win the support of more voters in the traditionally Democratic state ahead of the 2020 election. [RUSSELL CONTRERAS | AP]
Published Sep. 17
Updated Sep. 17

Associated Press

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — President Donald Trump sought to bolster his re-election chances Monday with a political rally in the border state of New Mexico, appealing directly to Hispanic voters with a message of economic prosperity, while doubling down on his hard-line border enforcement stance.

Trump supporters lined the highway to wave on the president as he arrived at a packed arena in conservative-leaning Rio Rancho, in a state where nearly half of the 2.1 million residents identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino — the highest ratio in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Elected Democrats led a counter-rally in adjacent Albuquerque amid a gaping ideological divide over immigration policy, gun control, abortion, and other issues.

Vowing to win the New Mexico vote next year, Trump heralded surging oil production in New Mexico, increased local wages and decreasing unemployment nationwide among Hispanics.

New Mexico still has the third-highest unemployment rate among states and the highest rates of poverty in the American West.

"You all look much better than you did three years ago. ... You're doing better than any other state," Trump said. "How do I lose New Mexico?"

Many Hispanic Americans, Trump insisted, support his plans for a border wall.

"They don't want criminals coming across the border, they don't want people taking their jobs. ... They want the wall."

New Mexico is among the states that Trump lost in 2016 and wants to win in 2020. It provides a test of his appeal among Hispanics and residents near the border who have a stake in his immigration policies.

Several dozen protesters gather outside the Santa Ana Star Center arena ahead of President Donald Trump's rally in Rio Rancho, N.M., Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Officials with Trump's campaign said they are working to win the support of more voters in the traditionally Democratic state ahead of the 2020 election. [RUSSELL CONTRERAS | AP]

At a Democrat-led rally near downtown Albuquerque, a four-hour drive from the Mexico border, U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland described Trump as misogynistic and ego-driven.

"We have to fight like hell to make sure he loses New Mexico," she said. "We can roll back Trump and we can roll back his policies and we can win New Mexico in 2020."

Awaiting Trump's arrival outside the Rio Rancho arena, 55-year-old Skeeter Trent said she believed the president could flip the state where Republicans haven't won a presidential vote since George W. Bush's re-election in 2004.

“I think that it’s great that Trump is coming out to New Mexico, in small-town America,” Trent said.

With the arena full, thousands of people were still outside as the president arrived.

She expects his visit to spark excitement in New Mexico and help other GOP candidates seeking to succeed Democratic Sen. Tom Udall as he retires and to fill an open House seat as U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján seeks the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Dianna Arvizu — an El Paso, Texas-native who now lives in Albuquerque — said she came to the rally to take a stand against socialism and abortion.

“This is big. He’s coming for us in New Mexico because he cares,” she said. “The old Democrats. they are not going to go for socialism. He’s going to win New Mexico.”

New Mexico has an unenforced criminal statute against most abortion procedures that could go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Santa Ana Star Center during President Donald Trump's rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Officials with Trump's campaign said they are working to win the support of more voters in the traditionally Democratic state ahead of the 2020 election. [RUSSELL CONTRERAS | AP]

A few dozen protesters gathered near the Rio Rancho arena — relegated to a small area across the street.

It was a smaller number of demonstrators than turned out during Trump’s two previous visits to the Albuquerque area in 2016 when street violence flared outside his rally at a convention center.

Trump went on to lose the state by 8 percentage points to Hillary Clinton. Libertarian candidate and former Gov. Gary Johnson took 9% of ballots — votes that may be up for grabs in 2020.

Two years later, Democrats flipped a New Mexico congressional seat and the governor's office while consolidating near-complete control of state government.

Hours before Trump's visit Monday, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham accused the president of demeaning and demonizing Hispanics and immigrants.

“He didn’t raise the minimum wage,” she said, referring to state law she signed to gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour. “He’s not working to invest in renewable energy jobs.”

Trump also repeatedly signaled his support for 2nd Amendment rights. New Mexico this year enacted several new gun control measures that include expanding background checks to most private gun sales.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Edward Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Ann Day, 49, a couple from Maryland, were found dead in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana Resort in San Pedro de Macoris on May 30. Facebook
    News of the deaths of American tourists went viral earlier this year. Theories of tainted alcohol have damaged tourism to the island country since.
  2. House Republicans gather for a news conference after Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper arrived for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    The Republicans decried that the deposition was happening behind closed doors and said Americans should be able to read the transcripts of any interviews being conducted as part of impeachment.
  3. President Donald Trump, left, followed by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, leaves the podium after speaking about the ceasefire in Syria with Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington. The president was also joined by White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien. JACQUELYN MARTIN  |  AP
    “We’re getting out,” Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions.
  4. Milwaukee Police Officer Kevin Zimmermann bought car seats for Andrella "Lashae" Jackson's two youngest children and then installed them in her car. Facebook
    But he didn’t stop there. Milwaukee Police Officer Kevin Zimmermann also installed the seats in the woman’s car.
  5. Washington Nationals' Trea Turner, right, steals second with Houston Astros' Carlos Correa covering during the first inning of Game 1 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    It’s part of Taco Bell’s, “Steal a base, Steal a Taco” promotion.
  6. An aerial view as police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurock, South England, early Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria. UK POOL  |  AP
    “We are in the process of identifying the victims, however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process," Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said.
  7. A top U.S. diplomat, William Taylor, departs the Capitol after testifying in the Democrats' impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    Democrats said they were shocked and disturbed by what they heard. A look at the key takeaways from Taylor’s statement, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
  8. An anti-government protester raises his hands during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The government said Tuesday that 15 people have died in five days of rioting, arson and violent clashes that were sparked by a hike in subway fares and have almost paralyzed the country. RODRIGO ABD  |  AP
    Riot police used tear gas and streams of water to break up marches by rock-throwing demonstrators in several streets of Santiago on Tuesday.
  9. President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS  |  AP
    The highest-ranking African American in Congress warned the president about making the comparison.
  10. This June 2, 2017, file image made from video shows the Trump National Doral in Doral, Fla. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday,, he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world leaders' meeting at his Doral, Florida, golf resort. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz, File) ALEX SANZ  |  AP
    The brief cites the selection — since reversed — as evidence that Donald Trump is profiting off the presidency.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement