Kentucky to host Trump, Carson for speeches

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center on Feb. 19, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Olivier Douliery/TNS)

Cheyene Miller

Two Republican presidential candidates will speak in Kentucky this week, with Dr. Ben Carson hosting a town hall meeting in Lexington on Monday and Donald Trump speaking in Louisville on Tuesday. 

Retired neurosurgeon Carson is attempting to revitalize his campaign while billionaire businessman Trump will look to rally Republican support, despite a history of clashing with both Republicans and Democrats.

“He’s been running against the Washington establishment, … which includes (Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky),” said Al Cross, a UK associate professor of journalism and former chief political reporter for The Courier-Journal. McConnell is often considered the head of the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill.

Cross said Trump will unquestionably have more success in Kentucky than Carson, as Kentucky usually follows national sentiment with Republican candidates.

“This is the first time Republicans have ever had a caucus (in Kentucky),” Cross said. “Nobody knows who’s going to show up.”

Cross said it’s unlikely for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to endorse Trump or any other Republican candidates until the caucus is over.

“He’s in the middle of a legislative session. He needs to practice the politics of addition, not subtraction,” said Cross, noting that Bevin might endorse Trump after the caucus if Trump decisively wins Kentucky.

Carson’s town hall meeting is 10 a.m. Monday at Lexington’s High Intensity Training Center, located at 261 Ruccio Way.  Trump’s speech is 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Trump leads the Republican field by a 12.9-point margin, according to data from Real Clear Politics, with 33.2 percent of potential votes.  The next candidate, Ted Cruz, has 20.3 percent.

The last Democratic presidential candidate to win Kentucky was former president Bill Clinton in 1996. 

The inaugural Kentucky Republican caucus is on Saturday, March 5.

By Cheyene Miller

[email protected]