Political rallies can be a crap shoot.
Sometimes credentialed media get placed in preferred areas that give good views of the candidates) and other speakers.
At other rallies, I have seen the press cordoned off to areas that limit what they can see and shoot.
In the long run I think it would be beneficial to you to go through the process and apply for press credentials. The worst they can do is deny your request. The experience of applying for credentials, then using them and going through the screening process to enter the venue, as well as picking up any pointers you can get from observing the working pressers will be worth more to you than any shots you might get at this point. If there's still a local newspaper in your area, try contacting the photo department there and ask to tag along with whoever they assign to shoot the rally. Again, the worst they can say is no. They might even let you apply for press credentials through them, which would probably increase your chances of getting approved (unless the campaign is limiting the number of credentials issued to each news organization). You might pick up a mentor in the deal as well. Most press photographers are fairly welcoming of newbies and willing to help a bit, as long as you don't overdo the questions or tie them up at times when they need to be getting the shots they came for.
I've got a friend who shot for a local newspaper at a Trump rally before the 2016 election. They herded all of the media into an area with limited visibility. She tucked her media credentials into her clothes and worked herself through the crowd to a spot much closer to the platform and got some shots none of the other press photogs were able to get.
The question, though, is if she would have even been allowed into the venue at all with that kind of photo gear if she had not had press credentials issued by the campaign on display when she entered via the press gate. Although the Secret Service was screening at the press gate, after examining them in detail, they were allowing cameras and lenses larger through the press gate than what were not being allowed in at the regular checkpoints. Leave your bag in your car. Even with press credentials you probably won't be allowed to enter with a backpack or bag of any kind that isn't transparent.