Photo by Jackson Baker
A crowd gathered at Donald Trump's rally at the Millington Jetport Hangar.
The scorecard of pre-Super Tuesday visits to Memphis by presidential candidates still has, as of this writing, room for updating, but right now it stands at four — including the acknowledged front runners in both parties, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The first visitor was Ohio Governor John Kasich, who held a “town hall” meeting on Friday evening at the Holiday Inn on Central Avenue. Kasich is hanging fourth in the GOP standings right now, and his chances for staying in the Republican primary race largely depend on whether he carries his home state of Ohio in a winner-take-all primary on March 15th. Meanwhile, he hopes to scratch up as many delegates as he can in Tennessee and some of the other 12 states conducting voting processes this Tuesday, March 1st.
Kasich’s event, which drew a respectable crowd of some 700, was but a warm-up to the next day’s massive turnout of an estimated 10,000 people, who jammed the Millington Jetport Hangar on Saturday for a rally by Donald J. Trump, the Manhattan real estate billionaire and TV celebrity who has stood the political world (the GOP component of it, in particular) on its head since his announcement of candidacy last July.
Trump is thought to be leading in the vast majority of primary and caucus events scheduled for Tuesday, 13 in all, and if he follows through as expected, adding those victories to previous ones in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, he will be hard to stop. This is despite obvious misgivings on the part of Republican traditionalists, who are moving to the support of Florida Senator Marco Rubio as the GOP field winnows down.
And on Sunday, Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton made a quick visit, speaking during the worship services of two prominent African-American churches in Memphis — Greater Imani Church and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.
Clinton, who is involved in a primary struggle with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, scored a dramatic 3-to-1 victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary, largely on the strength of the black vote, and she is expected to widen her lead over Sanders with good support by African Americans in Tennessee and several other Southern states holding primary events on Tuesday.
And there was Dr. Ben Carson, who trails Kasich on the GOP side but perseveres in trying to rescue a candidacy that has progressively stalled out since Carson temporarily led polling results among Republican candidates last fall. Carson reportedly visited some local churches and later held a press conference at the Alpha Omega Veterans Services center in the Airport area.
At the press conference, Carson vowed to continue through Super Tuesday and beyond and advised “special interests” to “go jump in the lake.”