Donald Trump rally in Tucson

Tucson police officers keep protesters from entering the Donald Trump rally held at the Convention Center on March 19.

Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders have found common ground, with both campaigns refusing to pay for police protection the candidates received at the Tucson Convention Center during stops here earlier this year.

An attorney for the Trump campaign rejected at a letter from the city demanding it pay an $81,837 bill for police services. They argued the contract with the TCC never mentioned additional costs related to security.

“That summary lists a rental fee of just over $7,000 and says nothing about a potential police fee that is over 11 times as much as the listed rental price,” wrote Donald F. McGahn, an attorney for the Trump campaign.

Additionally, McGahn said the Secret Service independently contracted with the Tucson Police Department to assist in its security detail, and the city should discuss the bill with the Secret Service.

Roughly 180 Tucson police officers worked security at the Trump rally in March, which was marked by several protests and disruptions. It attracted about 5,000 people.

A lawyer representing Sanders rebuffed a similar demand for $44,013, saying the campaign never asked for police protection and suggested the city should bill the Secret Service.

“The U.S. Secret Service typically made arrangements for all security matters with regard to Senator Sanders during his presidential campaign,” wrote Brad Deutsch, a lawyer for Bernie 2016.

Tucson police assigned 76 officers to a rally for Sanders at the TCC. Crowd estimates suggest about 7,000 people were at the event.

While the city has the legal authority to sue to get reimbursed, City Attorney Mike Rankin has said previously that is up to the City Council to decide.

Joe Ferguson can be reached at 573-4197 or at


Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.