SASSER — There was an enthusiastic party atmosphere in Sasser Thursday afternoon when farmers and other rural Southwest Georgians rallied in support of Donald Trump, the New York businessman who’s running for the Republican presidential nomination.

The crowd had already swelled to more than 250 by late afternoon when the “Farmers for Trump” event kicked off in earnest with an overhead salute full of Southwest Georgia flavor — four crop-dusters making a fly-by over downtown around 5 p.m.

The atmosphere could be described as a big family reunion type event on Main Street, which was blocked off from U.S. Highway 82 to Dawson Street. Music and the aroma of barbecue were in the air. There were a handful of vendors, and Trump emblazoned tee shirts and caps were being given out. The candidate wasn’t present, but a number of ralliers took an opportunity to get their photo made with a lifesize photo cutout of Trump.

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In interviews, those who showed up to support Trump cited his business acumen and his assertive personality as reasons why they thought he was the best candidate in the field.

“I support Trump because I think he would make a good president of the United States,” Tim Sinerly of Sasser said. “He might turn things around for us.”

Blake Vann, also of Sasser, was one of the farmers who came out to show his support. While Trump’s outspokenness has earned him some criticism on the campaign trail, Vann said he liked the fact that he says what he thinks.

“We’ve got a small farm where we raise cattle,” Vann said. “I like Trump. He’s outspoken, says what he feels.

“I think he’d make a good president. He doesn’t let people intimidate him, and that’s what we need in this country.”

Greg Kader of Lee County, who works at the Marine base in Albany, said he went to Macon to see Trump at a rally at the coliseum there. For him, Trump’s independence is appealing.

“He’s not beholding to anybody,” Kader said. “He’s his own man. His policies may seem hard, but I think they will help America. We need to get a little tougher.”

Steve Collins of Albany said he thinks Trump has the ability to negotiate with other nations from a position of strength.

“We sold our souls to the Chinese,” he said, “but Donald Trump knows how to play Chinese checkers and he knows how to win.”

Harry Thompson of Moultrie said Trump speaks for more people than his critics might realize. He also thinks it’s a good idea for someone who has business savvy to be occupying the Oval Office.

“I support Trump because he speaks what a lot of people are thinking,” Thompson said. “I hope he can carry it to Washington, D.C., because he’s a good businessman and that’s what we need.”

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