SMITHFIELD — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, running mate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, urged North Carolina Republican voters to "come home" to their party.
Speaking Friday night at "The Conservative Rally" at the Central Marketing Tobacco Warehouse, Pence urged the 1,500 people in attendance to support the Trump campaign and re-elect Gov. Pat McCrory, Sen. Richard Burr and other Republican representatives.
"It's time for Republican voters to come home," Pence said. "Come home to elect the Trump-Pence team to the White House. Come home to re-elect Governor Pat McCrory, one of the best governors in the United States of America to the state house of North Carolina. Come home to re-elect Senator Richard Burr and Republican members of Congress in a majority on Capitol Hill.
The event marked the first time Pence held a rally with both a sitting governor and senator together. Though Pence was the keynote speaker and main attraction of the event, much of the night was spent with Republican candidates down the ballot introducing themselves to voters and asking for their support.
Richard Moore, former state treasurer, released a statement on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign before the Smithfield rally saying Pence's appearance does not excuse Trump's actions.
"Despite Governor Pence's attempts to excuse Donald Trump's policies and behavior, it's clear to North Carolinians that as President, Trump will only lookout for himself and his cronies — not them," Moore said in the statement.
As the night progressed, higher-profile Republicans took to the stage to encourage voters to flock to the polls. Burr and McCrory spent a substantial portion of their speeches drawing contrasts between themselves and their democratic opponents.
Burr called his Democratic challenger Deborah Ross a "liar" and disputed claims she made in television attack ads accusing him of taking financial benefit from his position in public office.
He introduced his wife Brooke and had her defend his financial record.
She told the audience a major source of their finances was when she started a real estate company 12 years ago in Winston-Salem.
"When he decided to dedicate himself to public service, I decided that somebody had to pay the mortgage because he had to quit his job for nine months," she said. "So I went to night school, got my real estate license, and guess what, I was good at it."
Burr then introduced McCrory, who spoke critically of his gubernatorial opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory specifically lashed out at Cooper's criticisms of pouring too much money into the state's rainy day fund. McCrory talked about the impact of Hurricane Matthew and how the money he set aside before the flooding would help during the recovery process.
"Ladies and gentleman, it rained," McCrory said. "It rained, and we need to use that money to help people get back on their feet ... We need to help those who can't help themselves, while encouraging those who can."