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In Utah, Mike Pence Tries To Shore Up Republican Support

Julia Ritchey, KUER
Gov. Mike Pence campaigning in Salt Lake City on Oct. 26. His appearance, less than two weeks before the elections, comes amid flagging support among Utah Republicans.

With just two weeks left before election day, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence made another visit to Utah to shore up support among wavering Republicans. 

Gov. Mike Pence spoke to a fired up crowd of several hundred people in downtown Salt Lake City.

Although his barbs were aimed mostly on Hillary Clinton, Pence also spoke to Republicans who may be thinking of voting for a third party candidate.

“I want you to tell your Republican neighbors and friends this is not the time to make a statement, this our chance to make a difference,” he said.

Recent polls in Utah have shown independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah Mormon, tied with or even surpassing Hillary Clinton – a surprising turn of events in a deeply red state. Utah hasn’t supported a Democrat for president since 1964.

Although never mentioning McMullin by name, Pence said there is too much at stake in this election.

“I mean, men and women, I have to tell you from where I stand, this isn’t even so much a choice between left or right, or between Republican and Democrat," he said. "This is a choice, as Ronald Reagan said in 1964, between up and down." 

Trump supporters at the rally showed no sign of worry at McMullin’s late surge. Carolyn Payne from Bountiful says she doesn’t believe he poses any real threat.

“Trump’s going to win Utah,” she says. “There’s a lot of people that aren’t going to tell you their vote if you interview them. They’re scared of friends or neighbors saying, ‘Oh, you’re a Trump supporter.’ But believe me, there are Trump people out there.”

Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz are among the state’s leaders who have rescinded their endorsement of Trump this month.     

This is Pence’s second visit to Salt Lake City – he attended a business summit last month. The Indiana governor closed his rally by asking the crowd to participate in early voting, already underway, and to “bring it home.”  

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