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Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for his father in Sparks

SPARKS — A day after President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden verbally sparred in a wild first of three debates, Trump’s son was in Northern Nevada stumping for the president’s re-election campaign.

A mostly maskless crowd of a few hundred people gathered for the outdoor rally at Peterbilt Truck Parts and Equipment in Sparks on Wednesday afternoon to listen to Donald Trump Jr., who repeated many of the barbs his father lobbed at Biden the night before and pumped up the crowd with many of the Trump campaign highlights, from accusations of social media censorship to jabs at former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“We’ve got a lot of big, powerful people working against us,” Trump Jr. said.

He railed against Biden claims that he would be able to improve health care, the U.S. criminal justice system and other areas of government, echoing his father’s remarks from the debate that hit Biden for not accomplishing those things while in office as vice president or as a U.S. senator.

“If he could have fixed anything, he would have done it by now,” Trump Jr. said.

The Wednesday rally comes about two weeks after President Trump swung through Nevada with a pair of stops in Minden and Henderson.

The Trump campaign is seeking to swing voters in the state that he lost to Hillary Clinton by about 2.5 percentage points in 2016 and which saw Democrats win all but one state constitutional office and a near supermajority in the state Legislature two years later.

As of Wednesday, ballots in nine of Nevada’s 17 counties had been sent out to voters. Ballots for voters in the state’s two largest metro hubs of Clark and Washoe counties are scheduled to go out on Oct. 10 and Oct. 5, respectively.

Earlier Wednesday, Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said he was concerned about the rally given the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the county. He noted that the event would violate Nevada’s current COVID-19 restrictions that caps gatherings at 50 people.

”I know that the city of Sparks has tried to do their best to put the work with Peterbilt on some some controls and measures to help the spread of the disease. But the bottom line is that the governor’s directive today is to limit gatherings to 50. And so it’s not in compliance with the governor’s directive,” Dick said Wednesday during a weekly press call on the county’s COVID-19 response.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that the gathering limit would be raised to 250 for most indoor and outdoor gatherings starting Thursday.

Trump’s previous Nevada rallies in September — an outdoor rally at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County followed the next day by an indoor rally in Henderson — also drew the ire of public health officials. The Henderson rally, held inside an Xtreme Manufacturing facility, drew a $3,000 fine from the city of Henderson for violating the state’s COVID-19 gathering limit restrictions.

The building’s owner, Trump ally Don Ahern, had been previously fined more than $10,000 for an Evangelicals for Trump event that also violated the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at Clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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