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Vice President Mike Pence to visit Tucson next week

Following President Donald Trump's visit to Yuma and Phoenix on Tuesday, the president's re-election campaign is sending Vice President Mike Pence to visit Tucson next week, as the campaign falters amid a record number of coronavirus cases. 

Pence will travel to Tucson on Tuesday, June 30, where he will speak at the Westin La Paloma Resort as part of his "Faith in America" tour. After his speech, Pence will travel to Yuma to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey to speak about efforts the state is taking to battle COVID-19 in the city, which has become major hotspot of the disease in the state.

A White House announcement of the trip said that Pence was heading to "Tuscon."

Recent polling has shown that the Trump campaign may be flagging in Arizona, with a dozen polls completed since February showing Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden running neck-and-neck in the battleground state. 

Pence — tapped as the head of White House's coronavirus task force — will come to Arizona as COVID-19 cases have spiked to record levels in Arizona, California and Texas. Overall, about 2.3 million people in the United States have been infected by the virus, and about 120,000 people have died, including 1,463 people in Arizona alone. 

Arizona's Department of Health Services reported new 79 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 1,795 new reported cases. 

Last week, the vice president claimed in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal that even as coronavirus cases are spiking across the Southwest, the nation is wining the fight against the virus thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the "courage" of the American people. 

Pence last visited Southern Arizona in October, joining U.S. Sen. Martha McSally at series of private events in Green Valley, Phoenix and Scottsdale, including a fundraiser and speech at Caterpillar's testing center south of Tucson to promote the Trump administration's United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. 

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That junket forced the closure of Interstate 19 for an afternoon so that Pence could visit the facility. 

Previously, Pence came to Southern Arizona to visit Nogales in April 2019 for what local officials called a "photo op" as the vice president toured the border wall near the border city. 

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

VP Mike Pence speaks during a 2016 event in Tucson at the Fox Theater.