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What are seniors in The Villages saying about Trump and Biden?

President Donald Trump spoke to thousands during a rally in The Villages on Friday afternoon. Photo: Joe Byrnes
President Donald Trump spoke to thousands during a rally in The Villages on Friday afternoon. Photo: Joe Byrnes

As President Donald Trump came to The Villages  for a campaign rally Friday afternoon, the focus turned to Florida seniors and their crucial role in this election.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls in Florida has former Vice President Joe Biden up by 1.5 percent. And seniors, like those here in Sumter County, could be key in a close race.

Before the rally, four Villages women spoke at a Democratic press event. They don't like Trump's handling of the pandemic. And they worry that his rally is spreading the virus.

Judie Pristaw says she has not seen her grandkids since December.

"I don't want to get sick. I don't want my kids to worry about not saying goodbye to me because I have a ventilator," she said. "Joe Biden would be taking care of this. He would be understanding what a grandmother feels like."

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They are concerned, too, about Trump's divisive rhetoric and the threats they see to Medicare and Social Security.

Health care and Social Security are key senior issues for Republicans, as well. But Trump supporters, like Bobby Kinsey, feel he has their back.

"He's dealt with the seniors very well. He's pledged to do it," Kinsey said. "And one thing about him, when he makes a promise, he keeps them. So I'm sticking with Trump for all senior issues. "

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As for the coronavirus, he says, it's nobody’s fault but China's.

For Joel Franks, abortion is the big issue. As for the virus, he says: "I largely think it's a hoax. It's an industry now. There are thousands of people employed at clinics and check stations and all this other stuff. Thousands."

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As today's campaign rally gets underway, 50 percent of Sumter County voters have already cast their ballots for the November 3rd election.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.