When Donald Trump rallies the faithful in Elko Saturday, it will mark the fourth time a sitting president visits the town.
Republican President Herbert Hoover visited Elko in 1932. Hoover’s weak response to the Great Depression had rendered him very unpopular. Late in his presidency, Hoover asked Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon for nickel to call a friend. Mellon’s reply: “Here are two nickels — call all of them.” The 1932 election was a disaster for Republicans. Hoover got crushed by FDR, while Democrats gained 97 seats in the House and retook control of the Senate for the first time since the election of 1918.
In 2006, Republican George W. Bush’s popularity was also waning. Bush was not on the ballot in the 2006 midterm elections. But his invasion and occupation of Iraq effectively was. Democrats regained control of both the House and the Senate.
Of course, past performance is not an indicator of future results — no matter how much Democrats today may hope otherwise.
Meantime, the other presidential visit was not held during a campaign year. Republican President William McKinley visited Elko in 1901, on the return leg of a cross-country train tour.