- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Donald Trump told thousands of supporters in Everett Tuesday evening that he would win in Washington in November, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

“You know a Republican would never come to the state of Washington,” said Trump, who arrived for a rally and a fundraiser. “We’re gonna win it, that’s why I’m here.”

The New York businessman’s speech to cheering backers at Xfinity Arena was interrupted several times by protesters who were escorted out of the facility.

People started gathering outside the arena hours before the doors opened, with thousands lining up for several blocks. There was a large police presence in the area. Protesters gathered near the facility but were outnumbered by Trump supporters.

An organized protest rally began Tuesday afternoon at Clark Park. Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and other officials planned to attend before marching to the nearby arena.

Brandon Knox, 18, of Auburn, arrived early in the morning to line up to see the candidate.

“I like Trump because he’s pro-gun and he wants to enforce immigration,” he told The Daily Herald.

Several prominent Washington state Republicans were staying away from the Trump event, having previously said they wouldn’t support their party’s nominee. GOP Senate candidate Chris Vance, gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant and Rep. Dave Reichert, who represents the state’s 8th Congressional District, have all said they won’t vote for Trump because of his controversial statements.

Trump last visited the state in May, when he held rallies in Spokane and Lynden.

A recent Elway Poll showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead over Trump in Washington - 43 percent to 24 percent. The state hasn’t voted for a Republican candidate for president since 1984.

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