The North Carolina Republican Party recruited some big names for its annual state convention, which begins Friday.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Donald Trump are a few of the featured speakers who will be in Raleigh this weekend.
Both Carson and Cruz are officially running for president in 2016, and Walker is widely expected to run as well. Recent media reports suggest Trump may enter the crowded field for the GOP nomination.
Outgoing N.C. Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope said he is thrilled to have so many prominent speakers. He said a major reason why North Carolina is and will be frequently visited by presidential candidates is because the state is “disproportionally represented – in a good way – at the Republican National Convention.”
North Carolina will send the sixth-largest delegation (made up of 72 people) to the Republican National Convention, while it is the ninth-largest state in population size.
This weekend will be Cruz’s second visit to Raleigh since announcing his candidacy at the end of March. Jeb Bush, who is expected to run in 2016, also stopped in Raleigh for a meet and greet in May.
The convention will feature a few Tar Heel speakers as well, including Gov. Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, House Speaker Tim Moore, Sen. Thom Tillis and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.
Pope said he expects between 1,800 and 2,000 attendees, made up of delegates, alternates and guests from every county. The state convention was last in Raleigh in 2009. It changes locations each year to give Republicans around the state a chance to attend. Next year’s will be held in Greensboro.
Pope is in his last formal week as state party chairman, as new state-level leadership is elected every odd year. Candidates are nominated by delegates at the convention, which will take place after the 2 p.m. speakers on Saturday.
The GOP in Raleigh
Friday in the Raleigh Convention Center
7 p.m. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Saturday in the Raleigh Convention Center
9 a.m. Commissioner Cherie Berry, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, and Sen. Richard Burr
12 p.m. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
2 p.m. Hon. Richard Dietz, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis, Gov. Pat McCrory
7 p.m. Donald Trump
Sunday in the Marriott Raleigh City Center
9 a.m. Ben Carson