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Kaine promotes early voting at Tucson rally

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine spoke to a room of nearly 500 people at the Sunnyside High School gym Thursday night. The event was the latest in a series of high-profile visits from Democratic and Republican figures to Arizona.

"Normally you don't have a presidential candidate speaking in Phoenix and a VP in Tucson in the same week!" said Kaine, referring to a rally held by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to the Phoenix area on Wednesday.

In the last two weeks, first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and GOP VP nominee Mike Pence have also held events in the state.

Over the past month, many polls have indicated that Arizona has been among the contested states in the presidential election. But as Election Day draws closer, polls are forecasting a narrow Trump win in the state.

But many of those who attended Kaine's rally in Tucson still spoke about the importance of Arizona in what they called a historic election.

To many of the Clinton supporters at the event, the choices were starker than ever before.

“I’m absolutely terrified about the prospect of Trump being elected,” said Ken Kay, 39, a registered Democrat. “But we’re really excited that this is a toss-up state.”

The feeling of excitement for being a battleground state, usually reserved for places like Ohio or Florida, was expressed by multiple supporters.

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“It’s really exciting to see Arizona get put back in the blue column,” said Sandy Whitehouse, 76, a retired woman from Virginia who worked for the U.S. Department of Defense. She and her husband, Bruce Whitehouse, saw the election as one of tho most important in their decades of voting Democrat.

In capping off the event, Kaine spoke of the importance of early voting, referencing the surge of early ballots by Hispanic voters in the state.

While Arizona's in-person early voting sites will be open Friday, only three emergency voting locations will be open in Pima County on Saturday and Monday for those who wish to cast a ballot before Election Day.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine speaking at Tucson's Sunnyside High School on Thursday night.