LYNDEN, Wash. - Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump promised to return to Washington ahead of November.
“We can win; we’re going to win Washington State,” he told a crowd of thousands at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on Saturday.
Washington State hasn’t turned red for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
“I think he really rewrites the entire electoral map," said State Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), one of the organizers of Trump’s local campaign.
"The people who are coming out for Donald Trump. They may be traditional Republicans, they may be Independents. They may be people who haven’t voted in 30 years,” Ericksen.
Trump volunteer Brad Howard says he’s voted as a Democrat up until this year.
“I think he’s a very centrist candidate,” says Howard. “I think he appeals to a very broad base of Americans who are concerned about trade; we’re concerned about borders; we’re considered about all kinds of things.”
Trump supporters Saturday regularly cited immigration, trade deals and job creation as the top issues drawing them to the billionaire's unconventional campaign.
As with past rallies nationwide, the crowd cheered when Trump mentioned building a wall along the U.S. Mexico border.
Trump also cited a stat that illegal immigration "costs Washington taxpayers 2.7 billion per year," and he claimed the state received a large influx of refugees.
“Syrian refugees are on their way to this state, you know that,” Trump said invoking boos.
“They have no paperwork, no one knows where the hell they come from,” said Trump.
“I have a bigger heart than anyone; it’s a sad thing to see. We should build safe havens,” he continued “I will get the Gulf States to pay; I’m very good at this stuff.”
Governor Jay Inslee, who on Friday denounced Trump’s visit, has said in past months he welcomes refugees and Syrians to the state.
His office has said the screening process is lengthy and multi-layered.
Last year, the state received 25 Syrian refugees, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Washington received 2,625 refugees overall in 2015.
“The whole immigration thing scares me, the ISIS thing scares me; people can’t find jobs,” said Trump supporter Suzanne Johnson.
Johnson, a Trump supporter from the start, says she’s watched every last one of Trump's rallies on a live-stream.
“He says something different every time,” Johnson said. “I am sick and tired of career politicians. I vote people in and nothing gets done. I like the fact that he's direct and upfront. I'm ready for someone to get something done.”
Trump’s speech in Lynden touched on trade, his critics and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. In his off-script style, he stuck to his slogans and emphasized his primary wins. He didn’t provide many details on policy proposals, but supporter Peter Gigante didn’t mind.
“I don't think it's really vital for the president at this juncture to spell out definitively what the details of his policies are. I think it's more important to emphasize what his priorities are going to be, and if his priorities are what I perceive as the greatest needs of the country, then he's the man for the job,” said Gigante.
“He fights for his country, for his own people,” said Michael Schaeffler, originally from Vietnam.
He carried with him a flag from South Vietnam, calling it a reminder.
“When you lose your country, you lose everything,” he said.
Trump volunteers, meanwhile, say they will continue to work to turn out voters ahead of Washington’s primary May 24.
While the primary doesn’t matter as much as it would have one week ago, Trump still needs to reach 1,237 delegates.
The Seattle Times editorial board Saturday urged Washington Republicans to “make a statement” and “take a stand against Trump.”
On Thursday, Republican candidate for Senate Chris Vance, held a news conference and said he does not support Trump, nor will for him.
The Washington State Republican Party has called for unity. Chairman Susan Hutchison flew to Spokane to attend Trump’s rally in Eastern Washington.
“We’re going to unite the party; we’re going to unite Americans, “said King County Trump supporter Brina Sanft. “We’re going to unite Seattlites. For those of you who think in Seattle, we don’t have supporters of Donald Trump, they are sorely mistaken."