Vice President Pence rallies for GOP in Kenner

Vice President Pence rallies for GOP in Kenner
Vice President Pence visits the Pontchartrain Civic Center in Kenner, La. on Oct. 5, 2019. (Source: Frankie Prijatel)

KENNER, La. (WVUE) - Vice President Mike Pence was in Louisiana today not for a particular candidate, just for a particular party.

Pence was at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner for a Republican voter rally.

But two can play that game as Democrats struck back with their own call to action.

“We got photos up close and personal and handshakes and hugs. So, it’s amazing. So awesome,” said supporters Joannie Miller and Janene Dunaway.

Miller and Dunaway traveled from Bogalusa to make a day of the Republican voter rally. They arrived on the airport tarmac at 8 a.m. to welcome the United States’ second in command.

“It was hot outside but so worth it to see Vice President Pence.”

The pair then stuck around to meet him again.

They were just two of several dozen vying for the vice president’s attention.

“I’m hoping to shake his hand. It was crazy. A lot of pushing. It was crazy but we loved it. We loved every minute of it. So worth it.”

Vice President Mike Pence took time to pose for photos after the rally but made it clear beforehand he was here on business.

“We’re here to get some work done for the Republican cause,” said Pence. “Louisiana, if you want to send a message to Washington, D.C., send a Republican governor to Baton Rouge.”

As election day draws near, Republican pundits used Saturday’s voter rally to hammer attendees with their message.

“Vote Republican Louisiana!” said Pence.

“We know John Bel Edwards destroyed our state,” said candidate Ralph Abraham. “He’s no friend of the patriots in this room.”

“We are here today because we Republicans and conservatives of Louisiana, we can win the election. We can!” said candidate Eddie Rispone.

It was a message that was impossible to miss.

Gubernatorial candidates Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham are running out of time to sway voters, but when addressing the crowd, the two were united. And so were the supporters.

“Both good candidates. We’re all Republican. They’re both good candidates as long as one of them wins,” said Pence.

The Louisiana Democratic Party’s Executive Director says the sort of allegiance the Louisiana GOP is pushing creates more conflict and divisiveness.

“That, to me, that’s sort of blind party loyalty,” says Stephen Handwerk. “The vast majority of work actually gets done by people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

He says what’s most important to voters is results.

“Who can make sure we reinvent in our education? Who can make sure my family keeps their health insurance? Those things the governor is doing,” says Handwerk.

While Saturday’s rally was meant to motivate Republicans, it also inspired Democrats.

“We had people calling us and showing up at our office location, knocking on doors, making phone calls and taking their neighbors all day. And it really was a successful day for connecting with voters,” says Handwerk.

Leaders called it a Day of Action insisting voters are fed up with the kind of message Pence brought to Louisiana.

“They’re tired of Washington politics,” says Handwerk.

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