- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will bring his campaign to Connecticut once again.

Saturday’s planned 7:30 p.m. rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield marks the first time the businessman has campaigned in the state since he officially became the GOP’s nominee.

The Connecticut Republican Party said the visit shows the state’s importance in this year’s presidential election.

“There’s no doubt about it Connecticut will be front and center in the presidential election this year,” read a fundraising email the state party sent to supporters on Thursday. “We are officially ‘in play,’ meaning our seven electoral votes could go to a Republican for the first time since 1988.”

The email said State Republican Chairman JR Romano is raising funds to open field offices, assemble phone banks, canvass neighborhoods and register new voters. It urged supporters to “chip in” anywhere from $25 to $250.

A June 7 Quinnipiac University poll showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading Trump among registered Connecticut voters, 45 percent to 38 percent. That survey had a margin of sampling error of 2.7 percentage points.

Trump made three campaign stops in Connecticut in April, holding rallies in Hartford, Waterbury and Bridgeport before the state’s primary.

Saturday’s event will be held at Sacred Heart’s William. H. Pitt Center. The school noted Thursday the rally is not a university-sponsored event.

“The state director of the Trump campaign, having worked with Sacred Heart in the past on several presidential candidate events, reached out to Linda McMahon for the right contact at the University to see if facilities on campus might be available,” the school said in a statement. McMahon is a former two-time U.S. Senate candidate, GOP donor and vice chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

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