Speaking virtually instead of in-person, Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris assured N.C. supporters Thursday night that she has tested negative for COVID-19 and that it’s been a week since she saw two people involved with her campaign who have tested positive.
Harris had been scheduled to campaign for Joe Biden on North Carolina’s first day of early voting in Asheville and Charlotte.
But she canceled the in-person visits Thursday morning after the Biden campaign discovered Wednesday night that Liz Allen, Harris’ communications director, and a non-staff flight crew member, had tested positive for the virus.
“The last time I saw them was seven days ago,” Harris said Thursday night. “I have many tests now and they’re negative. And I am fine, I’m good.”
The virtual lineup of speakers also included Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a Democrat from North Carolina.
The California senator’s visit would have coincided with a Thursday afternoon rally by President Donald Trump in Greenville.
Harris vowed that “I will certainly be back” to North Carolina before Election Day. But she suggested that Thursday’s change of plans was evidence that the Biden-Harris campaign takes the virus and staying safe more seriously than the Trump-Pence campaign.
The Democrats require social distancing and mask-wearing at their gatherings, limiting the number of people who attend. Trump’s rallies often do not show the same strict adherence to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We want to just be cautious,” Harris said about Thursday’s cancellations. “Because that’s where we’ve been as a campaign, to take this seriously and hopefully model the kind of behavior we should all be engaged in, to be safe.”
Harris ended her nearly 15-minute talk by urging supporters in the state to vote, cast ballots for the straight Democratic ticket, and bring friends to the polls.
“This election is in 19 days. … We want you to start voting up and down the ballot,” Harris said.
She said North Carolina is one of a handful of states where voters will consider candidates for not only president, but also U.S. Senate and governor.
Earlier Thursday, Biden-Harris campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement that Harris’ travel schedule would be canceled through Sunday. Until then, Dillon said, Harris will keep “a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities” and return to in-person campaigning Monday.
Dillon said Harris “was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC,” with the two individuals during the two days prior to their positive tests.
Harris’ last North Carolina visit — her first as a vice presidential candidate — was Sept. 28, in Raleigh. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, was in Greensboro Oct. 2.
Trump’s visit to Greenville was his sixth trip to the state since speaking to Republican convention delegates in Charlotte on Aug. 24. Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Johnston County Friday.
Late Thursday, the Trump campaign in North Carolina released a statement contrasting Trump’s frequent visits to the state with the few by Harris and Biden.
“Whether in-person or via Zoom, Kamala Harris’ last-minute efforts in North Carolina are too little, too late,” spokesman Gates McGavick said in the statement. “Meanwhile, North Carolina Republicans kicked off early voting today by welcoming President Trump for his fifth visit to the Tar Heel State in six weeks.”
The scheduled visits underscore the importance of North Carolina, a top battleground in the presidential race.
Harris and running mate Joe Biden have both released digital ads urging people to vote.
“Greetings North Carolina,” Harris says. Joe and I are ready to get to work for North Carolina and the American people … And we need your help, starting by casting your ballot.”