SELMA, N.C. (WNCN) – Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Johnston County Friday one day after President Donald Trump visited North Carolina, underscoring the state’s role as a crucial battleground amid record turnout for early voting.
In the middle of Pence’s speech at the Farm at 95, the North Carolina State Board of Elections said more than one million voters in the state already had cast their ballots in the general election.
Pence’s visit came the same day the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported a record increase of 2,684 new COVID-19 cases Friday. That surpassed the record of 2,532 new cases set just the day before.
Pence said he believes a COVID-19 vaccine that’s safe and effective will be approved by the end of the year.
“Joe Biden is talking about shutting down the economy. Under President Donald Trump we’re opening up America again,” he said.
Several hundred people attended Friday’s rally, which was held outdoors, even as state leaders have cautioned against large gatherings.
Sen. Kamala Harris, running as Biden’s vice presidential candidate, called off in-person campaign events she’d planned in North Carolina Thursday after two people connected to the Biden/Harris campaign tested positive for COVID-19.
“It’s reckless. It’s dangerous. It is not what leaders do. Democrats, including Vice President Biden and Sen. Harris, they believe in science,” said N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin.
Pence discussed President Trump and other members of the First Family testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and thanked people for their prayers and support.
His visit came after the hearings in the Senate for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump tapped to fill former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett will soon be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We’re gonna fill that seat,” said Pence.
He also criticized former Biden for not saying if he would support adding justices to the Supreme Court if he wins and Democrats take control of Congress.
“It’s time for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Cal Cunningham to come clean! Give the American people a straight answer,” Pence said.
Biden was asked again about the matter during a town hall event Thursday night. He said if Barrett is confirmed before the election, “I’m open to considering what happens from that point on,” Biden said.
When asked if voters have a right to know his position, he said, “They do have a right to know where I’ll stand and they’ll have a right to know where I stand before they vote.”
Cunningham, a Democrat who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, has said he believes that there should be nine justices on the court.
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