WESTLAKE, Ohio — Pennsylvania Republicans had a surprise visitor here Tuesday morning: Donald Trump Jr.
The 38-year-old son of the GOP presidential nominee made an unannounced visit to the delegation breakfast, touting his ties to Pennsylvania in an appearance that highlighted the state's importance to his father's run.
His brief remarks preceded his headlining role in the night's prime-time festivities on the second day of the Republican convention — a day that later saw his father officially declared the GOP nominee.
Pennsylvania "is near and dear to my heart," Trump Jr. said at the breakfast. "I spent five years in boarding school in Pottstown [at the Hill School] and some of those old, industrial towns that we're going to bring back, that we're going to revive," he said, adding that he then went to college at the University of Pennsylvania. "When you think about it, my formative years were in Pa."
Trump Jr.`s brief appearance — about three minutes long — came a day after House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to the delegation, and pointed to the prominent role Pennsylvania is likely to play in Trump's fall campaign.
"Pennsylvania is the priority," said David Urban, a senior Trump adviser and former chief aide to the late Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. In conversations with top Trump aides and family members, Urban said, "if it's not the number-one state, it's one or two."
Urban predicted a heavy investment of campaign spending and visits by Trump family members and surrogates.
Republicans in Pennsylvania have raved about how Trump has energized working-class voters and persuaded disaffected Democrats to switch parties. While there is still concern that his abrasive style might cost him votes in the moderate Philadelphia suburbs, some — like Chester County GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio — say he might more than make up for that in the state's northeast and southwest.
Trump Jr. noted that many polls show the race tight in Pennsylvania, adding, "What's amazing about that is we haven't spent money yet."