COCONUT CREEK, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida continues to take center stage in the race for the White House once again, as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden conveyed the importance of the upcoming election to hundreds of supporters at a drive-in campaign event in Coconut Creek.
7News cameras showed the former vice president exiting his plane shortly after touching down at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Thursday afternoon.
The campaign event kicked off at around 1 p.m. on Thursday at Broward College North Campus.
Wearing sunglasses and a buttoned-up light blue dress shirt, Biden greeted supporters to the sound of cheers and car horns.
His last-minute pitch to South Florida supporters was simple: vote, because the fate of the election could lie within the Sunshine State.
“Right here in Florida, it’s up to you. You hold the key,” he said. “If Florida goes blue, it’s over.”
Before the event began, cameras captured hundreds of cars piling into the parking lot. Participants were seen wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
“I’m here to support a great ticket,” said Biden supporter Misty Brown. “I’m here to support reproduction rights and rights for women. I’m here to support handling of a pandemic that is killing parts of our community and our elderly.”
“Donald Trump is mostly about Donald Trump, and I think Joe Biden has a history of caring about people, and he’s shown that not only in his public service, but in his personal life,” said Biden supporter Shawn Malaney.
Just outside of the venue, a couple of dozen Trump supporters chanted, held up signs and waved flags. Few of them were wearing masks.
“Lock him up! Lock him up!” demonstrators chanted.
“Trump is for God, and Trump is for the country, for the United States. He’s not for himself,” said a woman wearing a red Trump campaign bucket hat.
“We didn’t vote for a saint, you know, but we did vote for basically a bull in a china shop, and as a former Marine, we need that sometimes,” said Trump supporter Anthony Vera.
Some protesters were seen briefly arguing with a 15-year-old Biden supporter.
Malaney pointed out the stark difference in safety measures between participants of the drive-in rally and the protesters outside.
“This is safe compared to some of the other events that the other party is doing,” he said. “I’m glad to see everyone wearing masks. I’m glad to see everybody taking the pandemic seriously.”
Biden and his supporters said they’re hoping for a blowout win on Tuesday.
Biden supporter Christina Currie said her mind is made up.
“This is a great opportunity for our country,” she said. “We’ve seen some hard times. We need to all be lifted up. We need to have some progress. We need to bring people back together, and I think Joe Biden is the man to do it, so I’m here to represent my family today.”
“Five days left, folks. Millions of Americans are already voting; millions more are going to vote by the end of this week,” said Biden, “and I believe that when you use your power, the power to vote, you’re going to change the course of this country for generations to come, at home and abroad.”
Immediately after the event, Biden attended a “get out the vote” event in Fort Lauderdale. He had a strong message regarding Trump and the Cuban and Venezuelan communities.
“Look what he’s doing: he’s sending Cuban Americans back to the dictatorship. He’s sending Venezuelan Americans back to the dictatorship,” he said.
Following the rally, a number of Biden surrogates, including Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem, fanned out across Broward County to stump for votes.
The Biden campaign is focusing on battlegound states during the final days leading up to Tuesday’s general election. He and former President Barack Obama are scheduled to appear at a rally in Michigan on Saturday.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, is scheduled to visit South Florida over the weekend, making stops in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
A new Quinnipiac University poll puts Florida as too close to call.
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