‘One week to heal nation’: Democrats respond to VP Pence’s visit in campaign push

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina Democrats are responding to Vice President Mike Pence’s visit Tuesday. Local and state Democratic candidates came out Tuesday to make another last push of their own before election day.

Democrats called Pence’s rally Tuesday evening a likely “super spreader event”, saying their event was a stark contrast.

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With nearly five million votes already cast in North Carolina, Democrats told voters their work isn’t over yet.

State Rep. Deb Butler, Sen. Harper Peterson, Wilmington City Councilman Kevin Spears and a number of other local and state Democratic candidates came out to the 1898 Memorial in downtown Wilmington Tuesday. Candidates emphasized the need for every voter to show out this year, saying the 2020 election runs straight through North Carolina.

Over the last few months, the Trump administration and Trump family have made numerous visits to North Carolina, and namely the Cape Fear region. However, we haven’t seen quite as big of a presence from the Biden campaign in Wilmington.

Sen. Peterson says he thinks that speaks to how seriously former Vice President Joe Biden is taking the coronavirus pandemic.

“He believes it’s real, and we see through data and statistics that it’s coming back,” Peterson said. “It’s going up. He understands that, so large crowds, unbridled audiences without masks is not his style, He is out in public, but in a different way.”

Rep. Butler acknowledges visits from Sen. Kamala Harris’s husband to Wilmington, and several Democrats to other parts of North Carolina in recent weeks.

“They feel that North Carolina is in the plus column for them,” Butler said. “I don’t say they’ve ignored North Carolina. They’ve sent emissaries. Doug Emhoff has been here several times. Kamala Harris has been to North Carolina several times, so has Cory Booker. So a lot of top surrogates have come to North Carolina.”

At Tuesday’s event, Democrats put a focus on the need for clean drinking water, funding for public education and Medicaid expansion. These have been some contentious issues both statewide and nationwide, especially in the middle of the pandemic.

Peterson says he believes they’re in a position of unification, and are determined to bring the country together. He calls COVID-19 the number one challenge our country is facing right now.

“Getting our country healthy, so our economy and our schools can be healthy,” he said. “We are opposing the Republican Party of division, trying to separate, divide us, weaken us. Having us fight against one another on these principles and these priorities.”

Candidates also highlighted the importance of North Carolina being a bellwether state. Peterson put an emphasis on just how many key races there are this year, from the seat for President, all the way down to races for local offices.