Thousands pack MetraPark to attend Donald Trump rally in Billings

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a rally in Billings Thursday afternoon. 

The rally was held at MetraPark's Rimrock Auto Arena. MetraPark said they expected the arena to be "at capacity" for the number of attendants. According to MetraPark's website, capacity at the Rimrock Auto Arena is 12,000 people. Preliminary numbers from MetraPark say attendance was closer to 7,000 people.

Thousands cheered as he arrived in the Rimrock Auto Arena, and while he talked traditional politics, he opened up saying he and his son will be spending some time hunting here.

We spoke to KULR-8 Political Analyst Lee Banville about Trump's announcement to visit Montana.

Banville said Billings has a higher percentage of Republican voters than western Montana, which is probably why Trump chose to hold his rally in the Magic City. Banville said Trump's visit to Billings serves two purposes.

"He's sort of making sure that he's locking everything down because it's been an election where you don't want to leave anything to chance," Banville said. "But it's a little bit more than that too. It's also, I think, an effort to ensure that the Republican establishment here in Montana not only welcomes him, but really embraces him."

Banville said Montana voters probably won't see Trump in the state again because Montana is such a historically Republican state.

"So this is really, I think, his effort to reach out to the Republicans who may still have questions about his conservative credentials, as well as his commitment to the Republican party," Banville said. "He's trying to do both of those with his trip next week."

Montanans have only voted for two Democratic presidential candidates since 1952. The last being former President Bill Clinton in 1992.

Related Story: Congressman Zinke endorses presidential candidate Donald Trump

We also reached out to the Montana State Republican Party about Trump's campaign rally next week.

"We're excited to have Mr. Trump come to Montana and I believe Montana Republicans will unite behind our presumptive nominee because it's absolutely critical that Hillary Clinton never becomes president and gets the opportunity to continue to wreck our economy and potentially appoint up to three liberal Supreme Court justices," Chairman Jeff Essmann said in a statement.

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