NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Vice President Kamala Harris made an appearance in Hampton Roads Friday evening for a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe and other Virginia Democrats.
The event at Norfolk’s Half Moon cruise center near Waterside was scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Harris started speaking around 6:20 p.m.
Harris joined a large billing on Friday, including Pharrell Williams, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and more. Election Day is next Tuesday, Nov. 2, and McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin are neck-and-neck in polling.
The campaign expected about 700 people in attendance by the time Harris spoke.
During her speech, Harris said without Virginia voters in 2020, she would not be standing at the podium as vice president.
She emphasized how who is governor matters when looking at issues such as women’s reproductive rights, supporting the military and veterans, climate change and more.
Harris stressed the importance of getting out the vote this year, saying Virginia’s election will have national implications.
“Each of you has a power to impact the lives of people you may never meet, people who may never know your name, but because of what you do tomorrow and the next day and the next day and Tuesday, their lives will forever be impacted by what you do in this election,” she said.
WAVY’s Jon Dowding spoke to two sisters from Norfolk in the crowd Friday, Cassandra Daniels and Ramona Handy.
Daniels said that, as a business owner, she’s focused on taxes and raises for front-line workers. She said she feels healthcare workers should’ve received higher pay before the pandemic, and the pandemic only emphasized the need for better wages and support.
“Maybe instead of marching on Washington, we’ll march on whoever wins this race,” she said.
Handy says she wishes they’d make it easier to get the elderly to the polls. She said she’s been registering the elderly and others to vote since 2020 because many people she knew were confused about the process.
As the event got underway Friday night, several politicians spoke about McAuliffe’s campaign and issues at hand.
U.S. Rep Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) spoke about books in schools.
“When’s the last time you heard anyone banning books?” Scott said, referring to an issue that’s been popping up in cities across VA. He says he’s dog-whistling people.
Attorney General Mark Herring, who is running for re-election against Del. Jason Miyares, spoke from the podium Friday as well. He said the Republican ticket is out of sync with Virginians. He said his opponent is anti-choice and anti-LGBT.
One of the loudest reactions in the crowd came for Del. Hala Ayala, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. She said this election is about continuing the progress made in the Commonwealth. She mentioned criminal justice reforms, voting rights laws and other steps in the last few years.
Following Ayala, current Gov. Ralph Northam discussed abortion rights on the ballot on Tuesday, among other things. When talking about legalizing recreational marijuana, Northam said “It’s Friday night isn’t it?”
When McAuliffe took the podium, he sung Pharrell Williams’ praises, saying he’s done more for small businesses and the community here in Hampton Roads than anyone else.
McAuliffe reiterated calls he’s been making the whole time on the campaign trail, saying former President Donald Trump is on the ballot in the form of his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin. He also touted his accomplishments during his first term as governor, and talked about how he reacted to the protests in Charlottesville in 2017.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Williams came before the crowd and said he was there for one thing and one thing only: to encourage people to get out and vote. He didn’t endorse a candidate or creed, just said go out and vote because we’re all Virginians. He said there’s power in your pocket as well as in your vote.
VDOT and Hampton Roads Transit warned motorists to expect delays and road closures as Harris traveled through the area.
Virginia Beach police warned drivers about delays. Hampton Roads Transit has also made changes for routes in the area in that time.