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Vice President Mike Pence makes campaign stop in Carter Lake

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 11:46 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:35 PM CDT
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CARTER LAKE, Iowa (WOWT) - Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in the Omaha-metro area Thursday, just as thousands of Douglas County voters received their early ballots in the mail.

The Douglas County election commissioner added four new drop boxes this week, including one at 76th and Cass streets, bringing the total to 13 drop sites in the county.

With only about a month to go before Nov. 3, it’s a big reason the candidates are on a full-court press.

Just two days after the first 2020 presidential debate, Pence was in town to speak at a campaign event at PVS Structures in Carter Lake. Under the backdrop of the steel processor and distributor, Pence took his message to supporters, aiming to win in Iowa in November, just like in 2016.

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come and the story we can tell the people of Iowa," he said. "Four years ago, a movement was born of everyday Americans from every walk of life. Here in Iowa, you believed we could be strong again.”

The vice president only briefly spoke about Tuesday’s debate during his half-hour at the podium. From jobs to law and order, ethanol and the Supreme Court, Pence covered a lot of ground this afternoon at the MAGA rally.

“This is going to be a turnout election," said Marc Lotter, Director of Strategic Communication.

With 33 days to go before Election Day, the key strategy now seems to be making sure supporters actually vote. It’s an even bigger goal since tens of millions of more people will vote early by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The president and vice president want to make sure that the people of Iowa are not overlooked or that we’re taking them for granted,” Lotter said.

The vice president has been in the area a number of times in the past four years, not only to help campaign for local candidates like David Young, who is running to reclaim his seat from Cindy Axne, but also in the aftermath of disasters like the devastating floods.

“We’ve got a great American comeback on the way," he said. "We’re not just opening up America but opening up our schools and getting our kids back in the classroom. Those tests — we’re sending 100 million out across the country so school nurses and administrators can get our kids back — and to keep them back — in the classroom.”

Pence is also the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and reminded supporters that he expects a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

Under the backdrop of a local steel processor and distributor, he talked about the continued reopening of the U.S. economy and bringing back some of the 22 million jobs that were lost.

Many supporters in attendance were Nebraskans, like Judy Brazda of Plattsmouth.

“I like Trump because he tells it like it is," she said. “Not the politicians who lie all the time. Trump talks like we do. ... The rest of these guys sugarcoat everything and want to take our money and raise our taxes.”

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states who aren’t winner-takes-all in the electoral college, meaning its possible Trump could win Nebraska but lose in the second district which covers Douglas County and parts of Sarpy County as well. If that happened, one electoral vote would go to Biden.

“I do understand they need to get to swing states more — Iowa for sure," Holly Kahler of Omaha said. "But Nebraska — except for the one district — will be red. We might go over and knock on some doors.”

6 News counted about 250 people in attendance at Thursday’s rally, many wearing the red “Make America Great Again” ballcap.

Colleen Kahler has been to three Trump rallies and didn’t want to miss this one because of what happened last time.

“He shook my hand, and I said, ‘You are keeping me alive.’ And he gave me the biggest hug and signed my shirt," Kahler said.

The Iowa Democratic Party fired back today, wondering what the administration will do for the nearly 60,000 Iowans who are still unemployed. The vice president told supporters they’re making progress.

The full statement from the IDP:

"As always, Vice President Pence’s visit to Iowa today is void of solutions for the tens of thousands of Iowans suffering as a direct result of the Trump administration’s failure. COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise at an alarming rate across our state and nearly 60,000 Iowans are still unemployed, yet Trump and Pence have no plan whatsoever to get our country back on track. Instead of enforcing his own Coronavirus Task Force recommendations in Iowa or working on a badly needed pandemic relief package, Pence and Trump are rushing through a Supreme Court justice to rip apart the ACA and protections for pre-existing conditions.

This shameless self-promotion at a time when so many Iowans are out-of-work, sick, or grieving is tone-deaf at best. Iowans deserve leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who will work hard to fight for our lives and livelihoods and build back better our state.”

Iowa Democratic Party

Watch Pence’s speech in Carter Lake

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