Crowd gathers for Pence campaign stop in Hermon

Supporters of President Trump were gathering in Hermon Monday morning for a campaign stop by Vice President Mike Pence roughly two weeks before Election Day.

The several hundred seats reserved for VIP attendees were filling fast while a large crowd waited in line hoping for a spot in the standing-room section of the truck yard where Pence will be speaking. This is the first official campaign visit by the president or vice president to Maine this year, although Trump toured a swab manufacturing facility in Guilford this summer.

Pence’s visit to the Bangor area is aimed at boosting the president’s support in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Trump won the district in 2016, capturing one of Maine’s four Electoral College votes. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the 1st Congressional District and the statewide vote, winning the other three electors.

Polls suggest the election between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is close in the 2nd District, although Biden enjoys a comfortable lead statewide.

The event was being held outdoors in a yard owned by Dysart’s Truck Stop. While announcers asked attendees to wear masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, mask use was mixed even in the seated areas.

Former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who is chairing Trump’s re-election campaign in Maine, urged attendees to support Republicans up and down the ticket. LePage spoke before Pence arrived.

“This election is about capitalism versus socialism, it is about work versus unemployment,” LePage said. “It is about abortion over adoption, it is about law and order, which we have seen over the last several months. We need Donald Trump back in the White House.”

LePage also urged attendees to support Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who is facing a difficult fight against Democrat Sara Gideon.

“It is not over for her,” LePage said. “We need the Senate to help President Trump run the country.”

This story will be updated.

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