On Tuesday October 20, early voting began in North Carolina. Following a very long and contentious campaign season, the first ballots in the crucial swing state of North Carolina were finally cast for the general election. To kick off early voting, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine held a rally in Durham, NC. Kaine was accompanied by Democratic candidate for Senate Deborah Ross, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, and former Duke Basketball star Grant Hill. Kaine spoke to a boisterous crowd at North Carolina Central University about the importance of the 2016 election and the value he places on American democracy.
Grant Hill introduced the Senator by telling a story about Secretary Clinton’s relationship with Janet Hill — Grant’s mother. Both were students at Wellesley College near Boston and Janet was struggling with her adjustment from a predominantly African-American community in New Orleans, Louisiana to a college in Massachusetts that had only five African-American students. A young Hillary Clinton made a big effort to help Janet Hill and the two became close friends. Hill’s powerful story illustrated Clinton’s history of helping struggling people long before her political career took form.
Following Hill’s introduction, Kaine began his remarks by discussing the importance of North Carolina to the Clinton campaign declaring it a “check-mate state.” Kaine continued to tell supporters that if the Clinton campaign could capture North Carolina, views at home could be told of a Clinton general election win long before the west coast polls even close. Kaine criticized Donald Trump’s unwillingness to publically state at the debate accept that he will accept the election results. Kaine then quoted Trump from a really earlier that day in Pennsylvania in which Trump declared “I will totally accept the election result if I win.” Kaine also outlined his and Secretary Clinton’s four pillar economic plan that includes equal pay for equal work and investment in infrastructure.
Kaine spoke passionately about the importance of his and Secretary Clinton’s civil rights activism throughout their young careers. He told stories of Secretary Clinton’s work as a young attorney defending African-Americans against housing discrimination. He also talked about his own work as a missionary in Honduras.
Clinton’s running mate continued his remarks by discussing the importance of North Carolina on all legislative levels. He encouraged patrons to vote for Deborah Ross for the US Senate and Roy Cooper for Governor. He noted the progressive history of North Carolina and how Governor Pat McCrory has changed this notion with restrictive laws such as HB2—a law that limits transgender bathroom rights. Kaine also stated that he is currently 8-0 in elections and plans on going 9-0 because he always views himself as the “underdog” until he’s officially declared the winner on election night. Kaine concluded his remarks by describing Democrats as people who see someone suffering on the street and offer their unwavering help.
Overall, Kaine gave an impassioned speech encouraging Democrats to get out and vote for Democrats down the ballot in North Carolina. He stressed the importance voting early for people who have difficulty voting on November 8th.