GASTONIA, N.C. — All eyes are on North Carolina Wednesday ahead of visits from not one, but two candidates asking for your vote.
President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Gastonia Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, Democratic VP candidate Sen. Kamala Harris will meet with voters in Charlotte.
The candidates came, hoping to win over North Carolinians, but many had already voted. Just 13 days from Election Day, 30% of register voters have already cast their ballots.
The President will be giving a speech at 7 p.m. at his Make America Great Again rally at the Gastonia Municipal Airport. Shuttle service to the airport will start to run as early as 10 a.m. and general admission gates will open at the airport at 3 p.m.
Before dawn though, Channel 9 crews saw dozens of people already showing up -- and some had been there since midnight.
All attendees will be given a temperature check, masks which they are instructed to wear, and access to hand sanitizer.
Jon Boyd, co-manager of the Gastonia Municipal Airport, said the event could draw up to 20,000 people.
“We’ve been deluged with calls,” Boyd told the Gaston Gazette. “We were told there’s 18 buses coming from Greenville County (South Carolina). We’ve got calls coming in from everywhere, from food vendors wanting to set up and people asking us if they can set up tents and camp out.”
County health officials said they are prepared to respond to COVID-19 clusters due to the event, while other public officials caution people to take their health into consideration.
Thousands of people were at the rally, listening to the president’s pitch for four more years. There hasn’t been a crowd that large in North Carolina for a political rally in a while.
“We have the most important election in our history. So get your friends, get your family, get your neighbors, get your co-workers, get your boss -- rip him out of the seat and get out and vote. Gotta get out and vote,” Trump said at the rally.
Trump’s visit comes after a trip to Greenville last Thursday for a campaign rally.
No parking will be allowed at the airport but attendees will be allowed to park in multiple satellite parking sites and take shuttles to the event.
Mike Kohler is a member of the Trump campaign who is leasing satellite parking sites for the event. He told the Gazette that parking will be available at designated sites at Eastridge Mall, Carolina Speedway, Forestview High School, W.A. Bess Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Sandy Plains Baptist Church, Union Presbyterian Church, Martha Rivers Park and Evangel Assembly of God.
Shuttle service will begin running at 10 a.m. and will run through 9 p.m. General admission gates will open at the airport at 3 p.m. You can request event tickets here.
Chairs will be permitted in the line but will not be allowed inside.
Harris returned to North Carolina after her previous trip was canceled after there were positive COVID-19 cases among her staff.
Harris ended up holding a virtual event last Thursday but has rescheduled her in-person visit for Wednesday. She delivered remarks at an early vote launch mobilization event in Asheville around noon before heading to Charlotte around 6:45 p.m. to participate in a voter mobilization event to encourage North Carolinians to make their plan to vote early.
“There’s so much at stake. You know, here’s the thing. The reason that we are all here together right now is because we love our country,” Harris said at the event in Charlotte.
Harris addressed a much smaller crowd of about 150 people at Truist Field in uptown. The Biden campaign limited attendance due to COVID-19 and streamed it online.
“We are going to tell them that we stood up and we fought for our country because we love our country, and we are better than this. We will tell them we elected the President of the United States,” Harris said.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates and watch Eyewitness News throughout the day for LIVE updates on both visits.
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