With early voting ending on Saturday and Election Day just two days away, former vice president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is hitting Charlotte hard this weekend, with his wife Dr. Jill Biden bringing Amy Schumer along for a drive-in rally in north Charlotte on Saturday, and Grammy Award-winning rapper Common joining local elected officials at a free concert in east Charlotte this afternoon.
“When we started this campaign, I never imagined that I would be speaking to a car rally, and yet, here we are,” Dr. Biden said to supporters sitting in about 100 cars in the PNC Music Pavilion parking lot, with guests honking to show their support.
As of Saturday, about 4.5 million North Carolina residents had already voted, including more than 3.6 million at in-person early voting sites and nearly 490,000 total ballots cast in Mecklenburg County. The state has been a critical part of both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Biden’s campaigns, as Dr. Jill Biden’s appearance in Charlotte took place just 10 days after a Trump rally in Gastonia.
Though only 10 days apart, the events were starkly different. Attendees at Biden’s rally had to RSVP to the event, which had limited space available. Guests had their temperatures checked upon entry and were required to stay in their cars throughout the event as organizers, volunteers and local elected officials addressed them before Biden and actress Amy Schumer took the stage.
Among the local elected officials at the rally were N.C. Rep. Nasif Majeed, N.C. Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, N.C. Rep. Chaz Beasley, U.S. Congresswoman Alma Adams and Charlotte City Council member Larken Egleston, all of whom stressed the importance of voting for Democratic candidates down the ballot.
“Who’s ready to end this four-year nightmare in three days?” Egleston asked the crowd on Saturday.
Dr. Jill Biden’s speech focused on a unified country under her husband’s presidency.
“Donald Trump wants to tell you a story about this country — that truth doesn’t matter, that decency doesn’t matter; that our voices do not matter,” she said. “He wants us to believe that that’s who we are: hateful and divided and angry. But he’s wrong, isn’t he, Charlotte?”
Biden appealed to the American Dream of working hard to provide a good life for families. She emphasized her husband’s character through his own familial struggles.
“He’s the man who came home every night from Washington, D.C. to tuck our kids in every night while I was studying for my doctorate. The man who gives his cell number to grieving parents because he needs them to know that even though their hearts are shattered, they aren’t alone,” she said. “The man who went back to work four days after our son died because he knew that the American people needed their vice president.”
She asked guests to imagine the future of Biden’s America, taking aim at President Trump’s last four years.
“You’re sipping your coffee and you pick up the morning paper, and the headline isn’t about some late-night tweet storm. Instead, it’s a story about American children who will benefit from universal pre-Kindergarten. And you turn on the TV and the anchors aren’t talking anymore about the spikes in the COVID virus. Instead, they’re talking about the millions of good-paying jobs that we’re creating, and reporting how Joe is going to make prescription drugs available and affordable. And when they cut to the President of the United States, you don’t turn the channel.”
The future was on Laura Saavedra’s mind as she cheered from the top of her mom’s car, which was decked out in posters and Biden campaign gear. As a high school student, she’s not old enough to vote, but she feels there’s a lot at stake in this election and wants to encourage young people like her to get excited about voting.
“I know that I have to make an impact in this election,” Saavedra said. “So much is at stake for me as a disabled, Latinx, young daughter of immigrants. It’s so important to get excited because at the end of the day, we’re restoring dignity. This is our future and we’re the ones who are going to be living through what is created in the next couple of days.”
The event ended around 2 p.m., just one hour before polls closed for early voting in Mecklenburg County. Common is expected to join Mayor Vi Lyles and Congresswoman Adams at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday for a press conference titled “What’s At Stake for Health Care” as part of Biden’s N.C. campaign before holding a free concert at Park Expo in east Charlotte at 4 p.m. that is not part of the campaign but will be centered on voting efforts. Stay tuned to Queen City Nerve for coverage of that.
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