Candidates turn out for ‘Back the Blue’ rally in Franklin

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Franklin on Saturday for the first annual Back the Blue event. The event, which was organized to show law enforcement and their families support, saw around 1,000 people from across Western North Carolina dawning signs of support and encouragement, large thin blue line flags, and countless “thank yous” posed to law enforcement and their families. 

Law enforcement from every department in Macon County were in attendance including Highlands Police Chief Andrea Holland and former Highlands Chief and now Chief of the Franklin Police Department Bill Harrell. 

After reading the names of law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in North Carolina this year, Chief Holland and Chief Harrell laid a memorial wreath in their honor. 

Among the hundreds who lined the street to support local law enforcement were both candidates of the District 11 Congressional seat, left open when Mark Meadows resigned to assume the position of Chief of Staff for President Donald Trump. 

Democrat Morris “Moe” Davis and Republican Madison Cawthorn not only both attended the event, but each of them spoke to the crowd offering their support to law enforcement and their families. 

“You’ve got my undying support for law enforcement in Western North Carolina,” said Moe Davis. “When we did the Pledge of Allegiance earlier, the most important line to me was, ‘one nation –indivisible,’ because we are all in this together, [we are] part of one community.”

Davis’ remarks were not political, and rather focused on showing his appreciation for the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers. 

Cawthorn followed Davis’ address to the crowd and began by reading a letter from President Donald Trump he received last week while meeting the President in Washington D.C. 

“I was going to keep this peaceful, but that’s not my style,” Cawthorn said to a roaring crowd. “Because right now the mob is pretty loud and they want to take our men and women in blue down and I say, ‘no’ to that!”

Davis has been selective of his campaign events hosting virtual town halls and “Chats with Moe” on social media due to the COVID19 Pandemic. Cawthorn is taking a very different approach to campaigning during a pandemic, participating in multiple events a day across the district. 

Davis has often been critical of Cawthorn’s campaigning events, calling them irresponsible and counterproductive to slowing the spread of COVID19. 

Early voting in North Carolina is set to begin on October 15 and run through October 31. The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 3. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for this year’s election is October 27 and according to Macon County Board of Elections Director Melanie Thaibult, more than 600 people have already requested absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are expected to be more popular across the country as citizens remain hesitant to go to the poll as COVID19 cases continue to rise. 

Pictured at the top of the article is Candidate Moe Davis, who is running for the District 11 Congressional seat vacated by Mark Meadows when he left to pursue his career with President Trump, addresses an enthusiastic crowd.

Article and photos by Brittney Lofthouse

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