Vice President Mike Pence joined about 200 Republican constituents from Virginia’s 4th District Saturday in support of congressional candidate Ryan McAdams and to express his confidence in “rebuilding our nation.”
“Virginia and America needs Ryan McAdams in Congress,” Pence said. “Not only are we looking at a great day in America, but we are going to take back the 4th [District].”
The Ryan McAdams for Congress campaign announced Oct. 16 that there would be a rally and reception with Pence in attendance at the SunTrust Center on East Main Street. Upon his arrival, Pence was welcomed by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.,7th District) and 5th District GOP nominee Denver Riggleman.
During the rally — which lasted more than two hours — Pence said he was there for three reasons: the candidate, the midterm elections and the strides already made by the Trump administration.
“Ryan McAdams is a man with character and integrity and vision that we need,” Pence said. “I would have been here if he were unopposed — he is just that quality of a person. Ryan McAdams will be a leader from the day he arrives [in office].”
During his 20-minute speech, Pence spoke about when he received the call from President Donald Trump asking him to be on the presidential ballot. Trump highlighted contested issues like unemployment and border security during his call.
Pence also called McAdams’ opponent, incumbent Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va., 4th District), “one of Nancy Pelosi’s most loyal attendants and a person who doesn’t represent the values, vision or principles of the people in the 4th District.”
“It’s not just a choice from two candidates, it’s really a choice from two different majorities,” Pence said. “I was in Congress the last time Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, and you never want that to happen again.”
Pence left the stage asking for one final favor — that the crowd pray for not only Trump, but those surrounding him.
Pence was joined by chairman of the Virginia GOP Jack Wilson, Senior Pastor of New Life Harvest Church and Chief Apostle Leon Benjamin, Chesterfield Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Carroll and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who introduced Pence at the rally.
Wilson spoke first at the event. He said the Democratic agenda was not a matter to worry about.
“I have really seen recently a surge in our enthusiasm for our Republican candidate,” Wilson said. “The Democrats and their allies and the liberal media would love to talk about this blue wave that is supposed to be rolling across the country. I don’t see it in Virginia.”
Benjamin, the chairman of the republican party of the City of Richmond, was greeted by a cheering crowd in his opening statement, during which he spoke about low unemployment rates and how Trump is “the greatest president of all time.”
“History is about to be changed because of us,” Benjamin said. “Richmond has made a clear sign that they want change.”
In the 2016 presidential election, more than 80,000 Richmonders voted for Hillary Clinton — as opposed to about 15,000 for Trump — according to data reported by the Associated Press.
Benjamin also urged the crowd that Virginians must mobilize to make a difference on election day in wake of Pence’s visit.
“[Pence] would have not come here to waste his time,” Benjamin said. “He is here for a reason because he believes there needs to be a change in the 4th District. Change is here, change has come.”
Carroll formally announced the endorsement of McAdams by the Chesterfield Fraternal Order of Police, after saying the Order had not endorsed a candidate in more than 20 years.
McAdams made a brief appearance during the rally, presenting a 10-minute speech to describe himself as not being a “career politician” and went on to accuse Democrats of gerrymandering in Virginia, calling McEachin “absent and aloof.” McAdams echoed Trump’s rhetoric in some of his remarks.
“The president is ‘making America great again’ and it’s time to make the 4th District great again,” McAdams said during his opening remarks. “People are hungry for change in the 4th District. We are going to win this race on Nov. 6.”
Journalists were told “no media” by organizers, but those with tickets were able to attend as members of the public. Commonwealth Times staff received prior email confirmation that a reporter and a photographer would be allowed to cover the event.