Early voting starts today in North Carolina. Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine will try to rally supporters to the polls in Durham and Charlotte today. Last night he was in Asheville. Kaine spoke to hundreds of young people at the campus of UNC Asheville with one thing on his mind: early voting. The message was spelled out in placards behind him. There were even pumpkins painted with ‘Early Voting’ in front of the stage. With most polls showing Hillary Clinton ahead of the race nationally, North Carolina remains a toss-up state. Its 15 electoral votes are up for grabs and Kaine said they could decide the entire election.
“North Carolina is one of a few what I call a checkmate states, which is if you do what you can do and we win North Carolina, there is zero path for Donald Trump to be president of the United States.”
And Kaine seemed to acknowledge that a big challenge now for Democrats could be overconfidence. The theme of the night: ‘Take nothing for granted.’
“Take nothing for granted because we’re living in a season of surprises. Some polls have been wrong. Some pundits have been wrong. We were ahead on Labor Day and then it was tied on September 26th. That could happen again. Take nothing for granted.”
Kaine laid the stakes out clearly, telling supporters if they care about LGBT rights, if they care about equal pay for women, if they care about reproductive rights and voting rights, then Hillary Clinton is their candidate. He criticized Trump for calling climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
“That is a quote from a book that he wrote. Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee says climate change is a myth. Donald Trump says he’s going to tear up the climate accord the first day he’s in office. All that work of all these nations to try to deal with a problem so that our kids and grandkids can have a beautiful planet to live on, and Donald Trump says he’s tearing it up on day one. We cannot afford to have an anti-science president. We’ve got to have a pro-science president in Hillary Clinton.”
Kaine also went after Trump on his recent unsubstantiated allegations that the election is rigged against him.
“We know what’s going on. He’s losing. Donald Trump has never been willing to take responsibility for anything. So it’s not like he’s going to stand up and say ‘Well I lost. I guess I must have run a divisive campaign that Americans didn’t like. No. If he loses, it’s going to be somebody else’s fault and so he’s going around saying that the election is set against him.”
Aside from a few protesters, the crowd was mostly receptive and friendly. Hugo Gutierrez is a 34 year old UNCA student and a veteran who’s supporting Clinton.
“I’ve watched the last two debates and I think Hillary’s always given us better examples whereas she’s not bashing him, but he’s bashing her. And that’s what I want to hear. I want to hear plans. I want to hear organization. I want to know what she wants to do. I mean she’s got the knowledge and the skills. So I think she’s going to be able to move forward if she gets elected.”
The Asheville area will see another high-profile visit tomorrow. Donald Trump is scheduled for a rally at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher. For WCQS News, I’m Jeremy Loeb.
***Early voting runs through November 5th in North Carolina. Election day is November 8th. You can find early voting sites and schedules at your county board of elections website, and additional info at the NC Board of Elections website***