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New times set for Pence visit, Republican rally


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Organizers of today’s Republican campaign rally and visit by vice president Mike Pence at the Roswell International Air Center have changed the time the event will start and when the gates will open to the public.

The Rally New Mexico Red event at the Stewart Industries Hangar on East Challenger Street will start at 2:30 p.m, said Paul Smith, campaign manager for Republican candidate for governor Steve Pearce, whose campaign is organizing the rally.

Smith said the change was intended to accommodate Pence’s schedule.

The time gates will open to the public was moved up from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m, after a larger than expected number of people went online to reserve tickets to the free event.

“We didn’t anticipate it being this big,” he said. “It surprised us in a good way, a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the vice president,” Smith said.

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To gain admission to the rally, people must have with them a printed copy of their ticket and an ID. Sealed water bottles are the only beverages or food items that people will be allowed to bring in to the rally.

People attending the event can park at the parking lot of the airport and a shuttle bus will take people to the site of the rally, Smith said.

Pearce and U.S. House candidate Yvette Herrell will be among the candidates who will share the stage with Pence.

The rally is meant to encourage Republicans to turn out and vote less than two weeks before the high stakes midterm elections, where President Donald Trump and the party hopes to maintain their majorities in Congress, governorships and state legislatures throughout the country.

Pearce, a longtime U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District — which includes Roswell — is in a tough race for governor against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, who represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

Herrell, a state representative from Alamogordo and the Republican who hopes to succeed Pearce in the U.S House, faces Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in the typically conservative southeastern portion of the state. The race is one of many that could determine whether Republicans keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mick Rich, the Albuquerque contractor and Republican running in New Mexico’s U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich and former governor and Libertarian Gary Johnson will not be at the rally.

On Monday, Cat Nagle, Chaves County chair for Rich’s campaign, said Rich is not able to make the event due to a televised debate in Albuquerque he will be taking part in that night with Heinrich and Johnson.

Smith said that as of Thursday night, exact details were still being worked out, but the event will likely start with Pearce and Herrell speaking to the crowd. Pence would then take to the stage at about 3 p.m. to deliver some remarks.

“Some of the details for tonight are being locked in line-by-line, but that looks like how it is going to go,” Smith said.

Pence and Pearce will then leave Roswell immediately after the rally.

He added that KOAT Action News will live-stream Pence’s appearance on its website. Other media outlets might also live-stream it depending on who is traveling with Pence.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.