EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - We continue our coverage of President Trump's visit to Evansville next week. We are only days away from the event expected to pack the Ford Center downtown.
For the first time, we are getting reaction from Mike Braun's team. Braun is running for an Indiana's senate seat against current Senator Joe Donnely.
Trump's visit is to endorse Braun. Braun is from Jasper.
A local leader on his team, Steven Hammer, says Evansville is a key for the campaign. Hammer expects Trump's visit will help increase voter turn out in the midterms.
In May, Trump stopped in Elkhart, Indiana following Braun's primary win. They met there, and they are expected to be together again here on Thursday.
Hammer expects Republicans running for local offices will benefit from Trump's visit, too. He says being involved in local politics can be fun, intoxicating, and even more exciting with Trump in town.
"None of us are further than just one or two steps away from the highest offices in the land. I mean those men and women are just normal folks like us too, and that's just another interesting part about it," says Hammer.
Hammer has 20 VIP tickets that he is sorting through now to see who will get one.
We are told Trump's visit is a huge indication of just how important he considers Southern Indiana's votes in the midterm elections. It is expected to create an opportunity for political discussion unlike any we have seen.
President Trump's stop in Evansville is one of many on his nation-wide tour to endorse candidates and secure votes in the Senate.
"It makes good sense because the Senate is very tightly divided right now. There are 51 Republicans in the majority, and there are some seats in great danger," says University of Evansville Political Science Professor Robert Dion.
Dion says Indiana is one of half a dozen very close Senate seats. States like West Virginia, Ohio, and of course Indiana have hot Senate races.
"Indiana has one of the hottest races in the country. This race could determine the control of the senate next year, so how voters decide here in Indiana could make a huge difference to the future of American politics and to the future of the Trump administration's policies," says Dion.
Braun has branded himself as a faithful Trump supporter. Donnely is a Democrat, voting for Trump policy slightly more than half the time.
Trump needs Donnely's vote for his Supreme Court nominee this fall. That's something he will have to keep in mind with how he treads on a Braun endorsement.
"He's clearly going to come in and try to support his candidate for the U.S. Senate, but at the same time he definitely needs the support of every single Senator to get bills passed and to get a Supreme Court justice confirmed," says Dion.
You will be hearing a lot more from Dion. He is our political expert leading up to Trump's rally and plans to join us for our live team coverage all day on Thursday.