What casting your ballot means in New Hanover County

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"Vote Here" sign (Photo: Erik Hersman / CC BY 2.0)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The highly anticipated debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris is happening on Wednesday night and local party representatives are talking important issues ahead of the event.

“You’re voting for a Pro-America or a Pro-Socialist Agenda, even here in New Hanover County,” New Hanover County Republican Party Chair Will Knecht said.

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“It’s about the American people because what effects one effects all of us,” 7th Congressional District Democratic Party Chair Sonya Bennetone said.

Knecht and Bennetone both seemed to agree the first debate between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden was less than satisfactory and have higher hopes for tonight’s debate.

“We think it will be a time where issues will be central, where the president’s record will be front and center because when he runs on his record, he wins,” Knecht said.

“Of course we have COVID-19, people are dying and also people need resources to survive and live because a lot of people have lost employment,” Bennetone said. “The stimulus checks are very important right now.”

The two emphasize the importance of this debate and the election.

“We’re not voting for Mr. Congeniality on November 3, we’re voting for the leader of the free world,” Knecht said.

“It’s not necessarily an issue about party, it’s about what’s best for the american people,” Bennetone said.

In an article in the New York Times, New Hanover County is named one of ten counties necessary to win the White House. The outcome is still considered a toss-up and even though the county has not voted democrat since 1976, when President Jimmy Carter was elected, a Biden win is still possible.

“The core values of New Hanover County resonate most closely with the republican party. Conservative, pro family, pro america,” Knecht said.

Knecht says voters not only favor Republican presidential candidates.

“We have a number of unaffiliated voters and even democrats that are coming out strongly in favor not only of the president, but bring it down locally to our candidates as well,” he said.

However, Bennetone is hoping for change.

“If New Hanover County is going to unfortunately say that [Donald Trump] is the president that they have then the spirit of 1898 is still here in New Hanover County,” Bennetone said.

She says she believes more people than ever are actually paying attention to the election, which could spark that change.

“We need to bring this nation together because a divided house will fall,” Bennetone said.

In North Carolina, early voting begins on October 15.

You can watch the Vice Presidential Debate on ABC or CBS at 9PM on Wednesday night.