Vice President Pence takes campaign trail to Wilmington, COVID-19 cases rising

Amid COVID spike, Vice President Mike Pence to visit Wilmington Tuesday

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Eight days until election day, and an average of recent polls has President Trump and Joe Biden fewer than two percentage points apart in North Carolina.

Many consider it a must-win, which is why republican officials say the Vice-President is stopping in Wilmington, even with COVID-19 cases on the upswing.

New Hanover County Republican Party Chairman Will Knecht says he hopes the appearance will help win over voters that are still undecided about who to support at the top of the ballot.

“We do believe the message of prosperity, of hope, of rule of law, of opportunity for all, of school choice for all," said Knecht. "We think that message that we as a party stand for, that the Vice President will communicate tomorrow night, will change some minds.”

Knecht says they’re hoping for between five hundred and one thousand people at the VP’s event at Wilmington International Airport.

Not quite a comforting number to some people, after Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter to county leaders asking for help to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We believe in individual choice as it relates to this issue, but you will see a number of people in masks," said Knecht. "You’ll see a crowd that is dispersed on the tarmac, so it’s not like we’ll be in a condensed area; it will be a dispersed crowd, so there’s a number of things that will be taken into consideration.”

On the other hand, local resident Robert Horn is opposed to the rally happening while the area is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Horn says he’s done his research, and would not be surprised to see our cases continue to rise after this event.

“I think we need to start making smarter choices and modernizing our approach," said Horn. "I’m all for political rallies, freedom of speech and expression, but do it in a way that’s not going to affect public health.”

ILM airport officials said, in light of the VP’s visit, they are not aware of any additional measures being put in place as a precaution.

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.