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What you need to know about the 2020 elections across the greater Tampa Bay region.

Kamala Harris In Orlando, Jacksonville For Socially Distanced Rallies As Early Voting Begins

Photo: Danielle Prieur
Photo: Danielle Prieur

Orlando supporters showed up in about 50 cars that honked their horns as Harris urged them to vote. "You will make it happen," she said.

On the first day of early voting about 50 cars participated in a socially distanced rally with Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando.
Later, Harris made a quick stop at an early voting location in Jacksonville before heading to a drive-in rally at the University of North Florida, where she talked about the importance of a victory in Florida.

“Let me tell you something - the voters of Florida, you guys are going to determine the outcome of this election. I’m sure of it,” Harris said at the drive-in rally.

Harris stood on a stage separate from the families who honked their horns and watched from the hoods of their cars and sun roofs. 

She said that she came to the Sunshine State and Orlando on the first day of early voting as Florida would help to elect Vice President Joe Biden. 

“Today, I had to come here on the kickoff of early voting in Florida. Because y’all are going to make it happen. You will make it happen. What you will do here in Florida, in Orlando by early voting is you will be the first to put our country back on the right track. It is you. You will do that. You will do that. Whose voted already? Alright.”

Harris criticized what she called Trump’s coverup of the coronavirus. She said his failure to respond quickly enough led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives. 

“So, we are looking at a public health crisis which I describe as being a crisis of proportion in terms of the loss of life that like we’ve not seen since World War II. Over 215, we’re approaching 220,000 human beings their lives lost. So many who couldn’t even be, because of the nature of the virus, with their families in their last days.”

Vice President Mike Pence was in the Villages last week. Both campaigns have visited Florida an important swing state several times in October as a lead up to the election in November.

Harris arrived at the UNF drive-in rally, which was just outside of the Adam W. Herbert University Center.

Beyond the gates of the rally, there were groups of people showing their support with signs, as well as others who held signs and cheered in support of President Trump’s campaign.

Before she spoke, several local Democratic leaders, such as State Rep. Tracie Davis, State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, and Congressman Al Lawson spoke about the importance of early voting, and what they see as the need to remove the Trump administration from the White House.

“We have to limit the number of people, we have to be social distanced. You have to wear those masks, all because of a lack of leadership,” Davis said. “Remember that the future vice president visited us here today, but also remember how it had to be done.”

Gibson also said it’s important for her party to talk to people who are not Democrats.

“We want NPAs who want to be part of the family,” Gibson said. “We want Republicans who want to be part of the family, because a family gets together. They care about each other. We don't have a family in the White House now.”

Harris commended Floridians who already have already voted, and used a good portion of her speaking time to attack the Trump administration.

“Joe Biden has been fighting for working people his entire life,” Harris said. “And on the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who right now with his boy, [William] Barr, is in the United States Supreme Court trying to sue against the Affordable Care Act, and if they are successful, they will get rid of coverage that came to over 20 million people.”

Harris also talked about Florida’s needs, and what she said is the current administration’s failure to address those needs.

“In Florida right now, one-in-eight Floridians is describing members of their household as being hungry,” Harris said. “We're in the midst of a hunger crisis in America. In Florida right now, one- in-five Floridians is describing themselves being unable to pay their rent in September. But yet this man, Donald Trump, would like you to believe everything is okay.”

Copyright 2020 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur
As a host and reporter for WUSF, my goal is to unearth and highlight issues that wouldn’t be covered otherwise. If I truly connect with my audience as I relay to them the day’s most important stories and make them think about an issue past the point that I’ve said it in a newscast, that’s a success in my eyes.
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