More than 10,000 supporters and protesters were expected to attend a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Long Island as the Queens-born businessman and personality ramps up efforts to win his home state’s presidential primary later this month.
The rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage at 7 p.m. Wednesday is Trump’s first in the Empire State, which should be friendlier to him than in Wisconsin, where the GOP front-runner was handily beat by Sen. Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s primary. Cruz, from Texas, is also campaigning in New York.
It’ll be Trump’s first major campaign event in New York since declaring his candidacy 10 months ago at a Manhattan skyscraper bearing his name.
Trump, who was born and raised in Queens, is expected to rebound in his home state after losing some momentum in the Wisconsin primary.
A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed that 52 percent of Republican voters surveyed in the Empire State say they support Trump, compared with just 17 percent for Cruz. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third remaining GOP candidate, had the support of about 25 percent of polled voters.
Trump was supported by more than half of all polled voters in New York City and Long Island and in Upstate New York. He polled at slightly under 50 percent in Western New York.
RealClearPolitics, which aggregates and averages polling data, shows Trump leading by more than 30 points in New York.
As with other rallies for the candidate across the country, protesters are expected to gather outside the event Wednesday afternoon.
Nassau County authorities said they expected about 1,000 protesters to line the street near the rally site. Ralliers and protesters were to be separated from Trump supporters to avoid any clashes.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said “violence will not be tolerated” at the rally.
“The people of Nassau County, I expect them to be ladies and gentleman and I expect them to do it in a way which doesn’t interfere with other people’s First Amendment rights,” Krumpter said on Tuesday.
Prior Trump events have been marred with reports of clashes between supporters and protesters, and an event in Chicago last month had to be canceled after the event devolved into chaos.
Streets around the rally site were closed ahead of the rally Wednesday afternoon, and metal detectors will be set up around the event space, Krumpter said.
Guns and bags will be barred from the event.