Locked in a tight battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton will kick off the Texas portion of her campaign in El Paso today with a free public rally at the Don Haskins Center, followed by a private $1,000-per-person fundraiser.
“The excitement is obvious,” said U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, one of the organizers of Clinton’s El Paso visit.
The Clinton rally begins at 6 p.m. today She is scheduled to speak at about 6:30 p.m. However, to accommodate the expected large crowd, the doors at the Don Haskins Center will open at 4:30 p.m., officials said.
Among those who plan to attend the rally is West Side voter Yolanda Uranga. She’s going along with her husband and several friends.
“We’ve got to have a good turnout because she needs us right now,” Uranga said.
Reyes urged people to show up early because the arena holds 12,000 people, and entrance is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“In 1996 the Clintons had a rally at the airport with 44,000 people, and what people forget is that we turned away another 12,000 people,” Reyes said. “That’s how much interest there is.”El Pasoan Rick LoBello, who is helping organize Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in El Paso, said some Obama supporters will have their own cordial rally outside the Don Haskins Center today.
“Just like there is a lot of support for Clinton in El Paso and it is going to show tomorrow, there is a lot of support for Obama, and if he ever comes to El Paso it will show, too,” he said.
Clinton and Obama are locked in a tight race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Among the states left to vote is Texas, which conducts its primary on March 4.
Reyes said former President Bill Clinton is also expected to visit El Paso in the next two weeks.
Ramon Bracamontes may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6142.