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Local News

Pence Rallies Trump Supporters In Pensacola

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Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
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Ten days before early voting begins in Florida, Mike Pence made a campaign stop in downtown Pensacola on Friday.
Despite the early afternoon time on a workday, a large crowd gathered in the green space outside Palafox Wharf to greet and support the Republican vice presidential nominee. In his 30-minute speech, Pence didn’t mention reports of the past week, that Trump may have committed sexual assault against several women, including two more who came forward on Friday. But he did talk up the mogul’s fitness for the White House.
“You have nominated a man for president who never quits,” said Pence. “And for so long it seemed like he was out there fighting all on his own. But now this [Republican] party is coming together, this movement is coming together, Florida is coming together.”
But if Pence didn’t address the allegations, Jennifer Schneider of Pensacola was more than happy to pinch-hit.
“To me, he’s genuine and the media’s crucifying him,” Schneider said. “And that gets me so damn angry I almost put my foot through the television.”
Pence also hit some of the boilerplate issues that Trump addressed in two campaign stops in Pensacola earlier this year -- national security and jobs. And then there was a generous serving of Hillary Clinton and the media.
“The media goes running after one issue or another when it comes to my running mate,” said Pence. “But here’s an avalanche of ‘pay to play’ politics and an avalanche political favoritism and outright corruption that’s in print in these emails. And it gets scant media attention.”
But one question arising from Pence’s visit to the Panhandle is, with the region solidly in the Republican column, why is he here?
“Coming to the Panhandle is smart politics; if you don’t come there and your turnout’s not good you could lose,” said Susan McManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida. “It’s absolutely critical that the Trump-Pence ticket get high turnout in the Panhandle,” said. “And they’re not going to leave any stone unturned right now because the last three elections in Florida have been just a one percent margin of victory.”
In winding up his remarks, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence issued supporters in Pensacola a challenge:
“For 25 days [until the election] do not rest, do not relent, until you ensure that the people of Florida and the people of this nation elect Donald Trump at the 45th president of the United States of America.”
After his stop in Pensacola, Mike Pence headlined a Miami-Dade Republican Party event Friday evening. On Monday, Anne Holton, the wife of Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine – is scheduled to speak in Pensacola.