‘Vote as if your right to vote depends on it’: Kamala Harris speaks during stop in Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris delivered remarks at Shaw University Monday afternoon during her campaign visit to Raleigh. 

Harris arrived at RDU International Airport just before 1 p.m. ahead of her 2:15 p.m. remarks on the Supreme Court vacancy and healthcare.

Just after 1 p.m., Harris arrived at Shaw with her staff and Secret Service agents.

Harris began her speech by describing her experience at the funeral for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Harris said few people have done more to change the lives of Americans than Ginsburg. 

“In truth, Ruth Bader Ginsburg can not be replaced,” Harris said of finding a replacement. “She was an original. A one-of-a-kind.”

She went on to say President Donald Trump and the Republicans are ignoring Ginsburg’s last request of waiting to fill her seat until after the election.

Harris said Trump and his party want to jam this nominee through. Trump announced Saturday that Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace Ginsburg. 

“We’re in the middle of an election. Almost a million Americans have already voted,” she said. 

The vice-presidential candidate said the Republicans want a justice that will strike down the Affordable Care Act.

“Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act will take up back to a time when pregnancy could be considered a pre-existing condition,” Harris said.

She said the attack on the ACA is driven by a “blind rage toward President Obama.”

“Judge Barrett is on record opposing the decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act,” Harris said. 

The senator went on to say Barrett, backed by Republicans and Trump, will overturn Roe v. Wade as well. 

“Vote as if your life, your choice, depends on it because it does,” Harris said. 

Earlier Monday, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) announced a hearing on Barrett’s nomination will begin Oct. 12.

Ahead of Harris’s appearance, state Republicans held a conference call discussing the choice to move forward with the nomination process despite the party refusing to consider former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court in 2016. 

“President Trump has made an absolute top priority to nominate judges who have demonstrated a commitment to enforcing the Constitution as written,” said state Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley, who went to law school with Barrett. “I will certainly hope that the Senate Democrats will not try and destroy Judge Barrett in this hearing.” 

Meredith College released a new poll on the presidential race in North Carolina on Monday showing a statistical tie.

 The poll found 45.7 percent of voters supporting Biden compared to 45.4 percent for Trump. 

“It’s the closest I’ve seen in the Meredith poll in years of polling,” said David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College. “All the recent events like Barrett’s nomination or the story about Trump’s taxes, I’m not sure that’s increasing intensity any further. I think it’s already there.” 

Biden and Trump will face off in their first debate Tuesday night. It comes as about a quarter million North Carolinians already have returned their ballots, according to the NC State Board of Elections. 

“The debates, the nomination itself, or the Senate confirmation debate over Barrett’s nomination is going to happen after a lot of people have already voted.” 

Harris’s visit comes as Joe Biden campaigned in Charlotte on Wednesday. 

Lara Trump, who is from North Carolina and is married to Donald Trump’s son Eric, is expected to visit Raleigh to campaign on Monday and Tuesday as well.

Trump spoke about health care in Charlotte on Thursday.

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