Fayetteville, N.C. — The campaign trail is heating up and candidates from both parties, including Republican front-runner Donald Trump, are eyeing North Carolina for votes ahead of next week’s primary.
Fayetteville’s Crown Coliseum was packed Wednesday night as Trump made his second North Carolina appearance this week.
Trump took the stage just after 7 p.m. and spoke for about an hour with no notes or script. At times, he was spontaneous as though he was feeding of the crowd, who hung on every word.
The 10,000-seat Crown Coliseum had very few empty seats as Trump spoke, and he wasted no time attacking the media and his GOP rivals, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.
"Lyin' Ted Cruz, he doesn’t know how to win," Trump said.
In the military community, Trump’s pledge to take care of veterans also played well.
"We’ve got to take care of our veterans. They’re not being treated properly," he said.
Several times during the speech, protestors interrupted Trump. With every interruption, law enforcement officers promptly escorted demonstrators out of the building. At times, the confrontations got physical with some Trump supporters.
Many of the demonstrators gathered outside the Crown Coliseum to make their voices heard.
“He spreads hate,” said protester Marianna Kuehn.
It was unclear if any of the protesters were arrested Wednesday night.
Undeterred by protesters, Trump ran through his plan, as he puts it, to make America great again, which included getting tough on ISIS, focus on companies that want to move overseas and immigration.
"We’re going to have a big wall, and who’s going to pay for it? Mexico," said Trump.
North Carolina is a major prize next week, and Trump’s main objective was to make sure North Carolinians give him that win.
A WRAL News poll released Tuesday indicated that Trump tops Cruz 41 percent to 27 percent among likely GOP voters in North Carolina.
Among other things, Trump supporters said the billionaire appeals to them because he is different, wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and has business sense.
"This man is a multi-billionaire personally, and that's the type of president we need. We need a president with a business sense," said attendee Dr. Steve Parsons.
Trump referred to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton only once during his speech, saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to run for president.
Trump’s next stop on the campaign trail will be Thursday night for a GOP debate at the University of Miami.