Update – Vice-President Mike Pence arrived at the Vero Beach Regional Airport late Thursday ahead of a private fundraising event for Gov. Rick Scott where Pence spoke.
The visit comes amid an intense 2018 election in Florida, where Republican Scott is running against Democrat Bill Nelson for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Onlookers stood behind a fence as Air Force Two – the Boeing C-32 plane that carried Pence – landed at the airport about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Several hundred people, including Vero Councilwoman Laura Moss, Indian River County sheriff’s Maj. Eric Flowers and county commissioner Joe Flescher, were in attendance.
“I was surprised at first. For a small town, big things happen here,” Moss said before Pence’s arrival. “It’s exciting.”
Members from the Republican Executive Committee, Veterans Council of Indian River County, Military Officers Association of America and the Navy League were also present. Airport Director Eric Menger thanked the Sheriff’s Office, Vero Beach police and the Secret Service for providing security at the event.
Officers with what appeared to be rifles in their hands could be seen on top of the C.J. Cannons building at the airport. Several people stood behind tape and cheered as Pence’s motorcade – which included law enforcement motorcycles, sheriff’s patrol vehicles and other law enforcement vehicles – drove out from the airport.
Several roads, including Beachland Boulevard and State Road A1A, were blocked until about 8 p.m. Thursday after the motorcade passed through. The fundraising event for Scott was believed to take place at a location on John’s Island.
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Posted by Nick Samuel on Thursday, October 25, 2018
Scott was not present at the fundraiser because he continued to handle Hurricane Michael recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle, Republican Executive Committee Chairman Tom Lockwood said.
Pence, 59, was born in Columbus, Indiana, where he served as the 50th governor of the state from 2013 to 2017. His friend, Frank “Bud” Suverkrup said he and Pence used to golf together at the Harrison Lake County Club about 25 years ago.
“We had a great time,” said Suverkrup, 90, of Vero Beach. “I just hope I live another six years so I can vote him for president.”
The Federal Aviation Administration issued air restrictions for pilots ahead of Pence’s arrival and departure. Pence was expected to leave Vero late Thursday.
Vice-President Mike Pence will arrive at the Vero Beach airport Thursday afternoon and will speak later at a private fundraiser for Gov. Rick Scott, Republican Executive Committee officials said.
Air Force Two – the Boeing C-32 plane which will be carrying the vice-president – will land about 5 p.m. Thursday at the Vero Beach Regional Airport, Committee Chairman Tom Lockwood said. The plane will land away from the main terminal at the airport.
Secret service agents along with 100 members of the Republican Executive Committee will be present Thursday at the airport, located at 3400 Cherokee Drive.
After getting off the plane, Pence will travel in a motorcade to the private fundraising event for Scott’s election campaign, Lockwood said. There is speculation the event will be held on John’s Island, but an exact location was not confirmed.
Scott will not be present, as he continues to handle Hurricane Michael recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle, Lockwood said.
“He got a pretty good replacement,” Lockwood said. Pence will leave Vero Beach after the event Thursday evening.
The Federal Aviation Administration listed a VIP notice for Thursday for Vero Beach. Pilots can expect airspace restrictions during Pence’s arrival and departure once an aviation notice is issued.
For updates on the specific restrictions, go to the FAA website.
No further details were immediately available.
Photos by Nick Samuel