FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The race for president was heating up — literally — in Fairfield on Saturday as hundreds of people arrived on sweltering afternoon at Sacred Heart University hours before the start of a rally for GOP candidate Donald Trump.
The lineup began outside the William H. Pitt Center as outside temperatures neared 100 degrees. But once the doors opened at 4:30 p.m., the air-conditioning inside the gym offered relief.
What drew people to a political rally on a Saturday evening in August? There was solid support behind Trump in the crowd.
"Trump is not a politician, he is a businessman. He's very, very smart," said Alicia Riggs of Shelton. "I think our country has seen too many politicians. With Trump, his words are going to be kept versus a political who wants to say what the people want to hear and then they get elected and they don't follow through. When you're a businessman as successful as Trump, you know that he will keep his word in order to be successful."
Michael Lord of Westport said, "I think Trump would be great for jobs. 'The Art of the Deal' is a great book. It talks about all the deals he has made and his clever business negotiations. If he brought some of that talent to the Hill, it would be great. Also, he is great for treating the vets well and creating more jobs for them."
Willy Searless from Shelton came dressed for occasion in his shirt emblazoned with pictures of Trump.
"Trump speaks his mind," Searless said. "And if we want change in America, we need someone different than just a regular politician like Hillary Clinton, who will just carry on Obama's legacy, which hasn't been very good."
Paul Kim, 16, Ridgefield, came to the rally even though he's not old enough to vote but inspired after interning this summer with Rudy Marconi, his town's first selectman.
"I am here because I like the political process. I want to study political science," Kim said. "I want to experience the radical far-right at its finest. There is a lot of energy here. Everyone is really passionate."
Tina Capstick of Trumbull came with her 17-year-old daughter. "She is old enough to understand the whole process. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is a different election from any other one. The two candidates are very different from what we have seen before. Trump has no political background, and Hillary is a woman. I think Trump will bring America back to basics."
The rally was set to begin at 7:30 p.m. inside the gymnasium where the SHU teams play basketball.
There is an American flag set up behind the Trump-Pence podium.
Sacred Heart set up a water station, providing people with water. It was not a full house yet, but with two hours to go until the rally, the crowd was filling up the gym.
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