DORAL, Fla. – South Florida is again the center of the political universe Thursday, as Mike Pence was campaigning in Miami-Dade County hours before President Donald Trump’s primetime town hall in Miami.
Pence touched down in Miami early in the afternoon and gave fist bumps to Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. They were all wearing masks.
Pence then held an event at the Memorial Cubano in Tamiami Park, appealing to a Cuban-American demographic critical to winning this swing state.
“Honestly, I’m here for one reason and one reason only,” Pence said. “And that is that Florida and America need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House. Cuatro años más.”
Pence’s next stop was at a Doral hotel, where he met with a few dozen members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
There were reliable voters there who see a Trump presidency better for Middle East peace.
“Trump had it the right way around where you go out to the broader Arab world and the Palestinians will follow suit,” said Steven Fiske, who met with the VP on Thursday.
Earlier, attendees of the Tamiami Park even were lined up some two hours in advance.
“We came out here because it’s not every day you get to hear the vice president of the United States speak,” one of the supporters said.
It’s a busy day with the Nov. 3 election just 19 days away.
Instead of sharing a debate stage later Thursday night, Trump and former vice president Joe Biden will face off in competing town halls.
NBC made the announcement that the president will be featured in a town hall at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, while Biden’s town hall will take place in Philadelphia and air on ABC.
The second presidential debate, which had been set for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, was canceled after the Commission on Presidential Debates wanted to shift to a virtual format in light of Trump testing positive for COVID-19, but the president declined.
Since then, Trump has gotten back on the campaign trail, hosting rallies including one in Central Florida earlier this week.
He was in North Carolina before his arrival in Miami late Thursday afternoon.
Biden was in Broward County on Tuesday as both candidates jockey for an edge in a state that carries 29 electoral votes.