Trump Rally Of OVER 20,000 Expected To Overwhelm Small Alabama City
“We’ve just never had that size of an event here before. Logistically, the way that’s laid out over there, I just can’t tell you what’s going to happen if a crowd of 20,000 people (shows up). I just don’t have a clue,” Madison, AL police.
The Alabama city of Madison is in a panic after leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump abruptly chose that town’s high school football stadium for a campaign rally on Sunday after being swamped with well over 20,000 ticket requests for a rally previously planned for a Huntsville airport hangar with a capacity of 20,000.
The expected crowd for the Trump rally is over four times the combined actual attendance of rallies held in Alabama on Saturday by Trump’s leading rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton.
Trump drew around 30,000 to a rally in Mobile last August.
Even with over 20,000 supporters expected for the 4 p.m. CST rally, Trump Sunday morning was encouraging more to come out.trump
Making a big speech in Alabama today. So many people we had to move to a football stadium! Come and join us!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
“Making a big speech in Alabama today. So many people we had to move to a football stadium! Come and join us!”
The stadium has seating for 5,000 and has never held an event with over 8,000 attendees with parking for 1,000 vehicles. Maj. Jim Cooke with the Madison police told AL.com the huge expected crowd for the Trump rally is a logistics nightmare:
“I don’t think you could have picked a worse location for this number of people.
…I’m about as frustrated as I can get,” Cooke said. “I never imagined that I would be notified at 10 minutes after 5 on Thursday afternoon that we needed to plan for an event that takes three weeks to properly plan. We’ll figure it out. We’ve got a lot of great people here and we’ll do the best we can with the mission we’ve got.
“We’ve just never had that size of an event here before. Logistically, the way that’s laid out over there, I just can’t tell you what’s going to happen if a crowd of 20,000 people (shows up). I just don’t have a clue.”
Emergency arrangements are being made for satellite parking and shuttle buses to handle the enormous crowd.
WAAY-TV reported that roads are being closed and traffic rerouted to handle the car and pedestrian traffic.
On Saturday, leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a rally in Birmingham before a crowd of “more than 1,000.”
Republican rival Marco Rubio spoke to an “estimated crowd of 3,000” in Huntsville on Saturday.
Fellow Republican Ted Cruz spoke to “hundreds” at a Montgomery restaurant Saturday.
Reporters like the Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson are becoming accustomed to the traffic associated with Trump rallies.
I always know I’m close to a Trump rally venue when I hit standstill traffic: pic.twitter.com/ISaqwTHJne
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) February 19, 2016
“I always know I’m close to a Trump rally venue when I hit standstill traffic”
Traffic backed up for nearly a mile for Donald Trump’s rally in Bentonville, Arkansas: pic.twitter.com/jCDXyNapCl
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) February 27, 2016
“Traffic backed up for nearly a mile for Donald Trump’s rally in Bentonville, Arkansas”
A poll of likely Alabama GOP primary voters released Friday shows Trump swamping his GOP rivals in advance of Tuesday’s SEC primary. Trump was at 35.8% support, Rubio at 23.0, Cruz at 16.2, Ben Carson at 10.5 and John Kasich at 7.5 with 7.0 undecided.