- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump planned a campaign rally in a 40,000-seat football stadium in Mobile on Friday evening after initial venues proved too small because of the demand for tickets.

The Alabama secretary of state’s office said more than 30,000 people were expected to attend the event at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and local officials were ready for even more.

“From the city’s perspective, we’re preparing for 40,000 people because we want to make sure it is a well-organized and safe event,” said George Talbot, a spokesman for Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

The free rally was planned for 7 p.m., and shuttles were being planned for parking in remote lots at the civic center and the city’s minor league baseball stadium.

The campaign initially inquired about using the civic center theater, which seats about 2,000 people, and then looked at adding the adjoining 3,000-seat arena when the number of people ordering tickets online exceeded expectations, Talbot said.

The campaign eventually leased the football stadium, which Talbot said could hold as many as 50,000 if seats are added on the field.

Stimpson will greet Trump, but an aide said Gov. Robert Bentley had no plans to attend the rally. Bentley, a Republican, endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the GOP presidential nomination earlier this week.

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