Turnout starts early for Trump rally in Columbia

    One attendee said he had arrived at 10 p.m. Wednesday. (Hannah Knowles/KRCG)<p>{/p}

    Several people were already in place early Thursday morning for President Donald Trump's rally at the Columbia Regional Airport.

    The president was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 Thursday evening to stump for Republican Senate candidate and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

    Chuck McKenna was one of the attendees who arrived hours ahead of the rally. He said he arrived at 10 p.m. Wednesday night and slept in his truck. "I'm glad President Trump is coming to mid-Missouri to support some of the changes we need to see happen here," he said. "I've been watching Donald Trump since way back in 1979."

    McKenna said he was eager to hear what President Trump had to say about Josh Hawley. "I already know plenty about Claire McCaskill and I don't like her," he said. "But I want to learn more about Josh Hawley."

    Robert Klinker of Jefferson City said he arrived at 4:00 a.m. for the rally. "This is the second rally I've been to," he said "I went to the one in Springfield and there were a ton of people there, it was crazy."

    Several law enforcement officers and other rally-goers were starting to arrive as of 5:45 a.m. Thursday.

    The rally was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., and doors were set to open for ticket-holders at 3:30 p.m.

    Event organizers said parking for Thursday's "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) rally would be available at the Cartwright Business and Technology Center, which was located at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 63 and Route H. Only ticketed airline passengers could park at the airport.

    Boone County Democrats had planned a counter-rally at the Boone County Courthouse at the same time.

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