Secret Service, swaths of security and caravans of official vehicles from Washington, D.C., aren't commonly seen in Madison County, but come next weekend, that's all about to change. Word broke Friday when The Register confirmed that President Trump will visit Richmond for a political rally.
Trump has been criss-crossing the nation on behalf of Republican candidates, hosting Make America Great Again rallies in areas with key midterm races. The Richmond rally will be at Alumni Coliseum on the Eastern Kentucky University campus, where Trump is expected to rally support for 6th District Congressman Andy Barr, who is engaged in a highly contested race against challenger Amy McGrath.
Democrat McGrath, a retired U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel and fighter pilot, is hoping to unseat Barr, who is campaigning for a fourth term in Congress. McGrath has put a heavy focus on Madison County; a previous Register story cited her plans to once again spend election night in Richmond for the general election, as she did with the primary.
McGrath visited Madison County even before she announced her campaign, and her campaign opened its first field office in Richmond. Madison County is also a frequent stop for Barr.
Barr won the district by 22 points in 2016, but the race this year is considered a toss-up by The Cook Political Report. The only public poll has shown Barr up by one point. McGrath’s campaign released an internal poll on Thursday showing her leading the race by seven points.
The bipartisan focus on Madison County — the second-largest of the 19 counties that make up the 6th District — isn't surprising. The district stretches from Scott, Franklin and Fayette counties in the west to Bath, Fleming, Menifee and Wolfe counties in the east.
In 2016, Barr carried Madison County by a more than 2-1 margin on his way to winning a third term in the U.S. House. He garnered 25,178 votes to 11,912 cast for the Democratic nominee, the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper.
In August, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that President Trump was expected to visit the state to campaign for Barr, although a spokeswoman for Barr couldn’t confirm such a visit, only stating Barr would welcome him.
Trump's visit could prove beneficial to Barr as the President easily carried the 6th District and Kentucky in the 2016 election and remains popular here. According to Morning Consult, the President has 56 percent approval rating in the state.
“I’m honored to welcome President Trump to the Sixth District to speak to Kentuckians in advance of the Nov. 6 election,” Barr said in a release Friday. “Kentuckians are better off today because of the policies I voted for and this President signed into law.”
President Trump's rally is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at EKU's Alumni Coliseum, 641 Eastern Bypass, Richmond. General admission doors open at 4 p.m.
This marks the third rally President Trump has held in Kentucky and the first in Richmond since he began his race for president in June 2015, according to a release from Trump's campaign.
The day before Trump visits Richmond, McGrath will welcome former Vice President Joe Biden to Bath County High School, 645 Chenault Drive, Owingsville, for a community fish fry and campaign rally at noon.
Ronnie Ellis contributed to this story.
Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking