WILMINGTON: Donald Trump’s visit to Wilmington on Tuesday is indicative of Southeastern North Carolina being a battleground within the battleground for Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “I do think this area of the state has a lot of influence,” said Aaron King, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where the school’s College Republicans are hosting Trump’s rally at Trask Coliseum. “This is definitely an area that the candidates want to win.” Trump’s visit will be his first to Southeastern North Carolina — and the first by a presidential candidate since 2008, when Clinton, Republican nominee John McCain and eventual President Barack Obama all visited New Hanover County. Early this year, Trump held a rally in Fayetteville, where he’s also planning a rally Tuesday evening following Wilmington. King said he anticipates that Clinton likely will visit Wilmington as well before the November 8 election. She narrowly lost New Hanover County to Democratic rival and Vermont Senatpr Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary in March. Trump won all three counties in Southeastern North Carolina. Clinton got 55 percent of the vote against Sanders and former Virginia governor Martin O’Malley; and Trump got 40 percent in a field of 12 Republican candidates.