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Trump rallies in swing state Nevada during blistering heatwave; campaign sets up cooling stations

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will hold an outdoor rally in sweltering Las Vegas on Sunday, seeking to shore up support in Nevada, a swing state he lost twice but which polls suggest is leaning his way ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Supporters of former US President and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gather outside as Trump attends a fundraising event in Newport Beach, California, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Kyle Grillot / AFP)(AFP)
Supporters of former US President and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gather outside as Trump attends a fundraising event in Newport Beach, California, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Kyle Grillot / AFP)(AFP)

It will be Trump’s first large-scale rally since a New York jury found him guilty on May 30 of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election, making him the first former U.S. president convicted of a crime.

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Trump spoke on Thursday at a town hall in Arizona, another battleground state, telling supporters there about his plans to curb illegal immigration and blaming issues at the southern border on his Democratic opponent, President Joe Biden.

Immigration will be one focus of his Las Vegas speech, along with criticism of the post-pandemic surge in inflation during Biden’s term, according to a campaign statement.

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Blistering heat is forecast for the event, with temperatures reaching 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) when Trump takes the stage at noon local time and climbing to 102 degrees by 3 p.m. (2200 GMT), according to the National Weather Service.

By mid-morning, several thousand Trump supporters were lined up and filing into the venue at Sunset Park. A breeze and misting stations were helping to mitigate the heat, although at least three supporters had already been taken away on stretchers.

Alex Maldonado, a 50-year-old father of three, said he was worried about the heat but wanted to come out to support Trump, for whom he plans to vote a third time. He said he feels Biden has failed in handling inflation, the southern border and crime.

“I tried to give him (Biden) a chance in 2020,” said Maldonado, a military veteran who works security at a Las Vegas casino. “But everything in life has been made harder.”

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For days, Las Vegas residents have been coping with unusually high temperatures, part of a heatwave scorching the U.S. Southwest. The National Weather Service lifted its excessive heat warning for the area, however, on Saturday evening prior to the event.

 

In addition to the misting machines, the campaign has set up cooling stations. At Trump’s event on Thursday, several people who had lined up outside in extreme heat had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Nevada and other swing states’ game-changing play during the elections

Nevada is one of six or seven swing states likely to determine the election. A Fox News survey conducted after the guilty verdict showed Trump ahead of Biden in Nevada by five percentage points, an advantage roughly in line with an average of polls over time compiled by poll tracking website FiveThirtyEight.

Rebecca Gill, a political science professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, said she was skeptical that polls were fully capturing where voters will be in a few months, given that many are not yet paying attention to the race.

Gill said she did not think Trump’s criminal conviction has fully sunk in with voters and could deter some moderate Republicans from backing him. In addition, a proposed amendment to enshrine access to abortion in the state constitution would, if it makes it onto the ballot, likely boost Democratic turnout.

“I think that (Nevada) is 100% still in play,” Gill said.

Sunday’s rally comes on the heels of a three-day fundraising push by Trump that included stops in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, where he raised millions of dollars from technology executives and other donors.

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