Republican Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, were scheduled to hold rallies at the exact same time on Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m.
Trump picked a cavernous arena in Sunrise, Fla., that can hold as many as 20,000; Pence opted for a popular wedding venue in rural, eastern Ohio — a small auditorium in a civic center.
If Trump’s goal is to rile up his most ardent supporters, then Pence’s is to smooth over Trump’s rough edges — and offer appeal to a broader slice of the electorate. So how’d they do on Wednesday? Just how different were they? Follow along in this diary of a night of dueling rallies.
3:51 p.m. After a brief downpour in Sunrise, Fla., the rain recedes and a soggy crowd outside the BB&T Center becomes animated and chants: “USA, USA, USA!” A middle-aged woman, plump and wearing a red cotton blouse, pumps her fist up and down into the air with the crowd.
4:00 p.m. Doors are scheduled to open in both locations. In Sunrise, the crowd begins — in vain — to chant, “Open the doors! Open the doors!”
4:19 p.m. The street vendors in Sunrise returned after escaping the rain. One couple stands behind a table just outside the main entrance to the arena selling Donald Trump masks for $20. A woman models the mask while a man waits to make a sale.
4:42 p.m. By this point, only a few dozen people have gathered for Pence’s rally in Ohio and new arrivals have to wait just seconds to get through the security line. Once inside, most plop down on the carpeted floor to wait, serenaded by selections from Trump’s personal playlist. While Trump usually blasts his music deafeningly loud, here it is broadcast so softly that it’s often difficult to identify the songs.
Outside, vendors sell T-shirts, coffee mugs, beach balls, flags and buttons featuring Trump's name, with occasional mentions of Pence. One vendor carries two varieties of Trump bobblehead — one wearing a hat with both thumbs up, the other not wearing a hat with just one thumb up. He shakes his head when asked if he sells a Pence bobblehead.
5:11 p.m. In Ohio, Amanda Allen, wearing heels and lipstick, realizes that she and her husband overdressed for this Pence rally. Allen, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom with two boys, says former House speaker Newt Gingrich was her top veep draft pick, but she likes Pence. What does she know about him? “Not much — just that he’s the governor for Indiana. That’s all I know,” she says.
5:17 p.m. In Florida, Diane Kushner, who is wearing a pink “Women for Trump” shirt, says she decided to support Trump when he first announced his candidacy, more than a year ago. When asked about Pence, she was polite, if less enthusiastic.
“He’s not the point,” she said, smiling. “I’m for Trump. Whatever is going to help Trump win, we’re all in for Trump. Pence is fine.”
6:11 p.m. Thomas D. Orr, the mayor of Cambridge, tells the crowd that Pence has landed and will arrive soon. “Is this fun or what?” he said. “Woooooooo! One more ‘USA,’ let’s do a little bit of that: USA! USA! USA! I love that one! USA! USA!” The crowd briefly joins the forced chant, then politely claps.
6:20 p.m. In Ohio, Cindy Trubisky, a 62-year-old who lives outside of Cambridge, looks around at the crowd of about 600 and concludes that it’s not quite as large or as rowdy as she expected: “I would really like to go to a Trump rally. This is nice but this is more like a Hillary rally.”
6:40 p.m. At the Trump rally, the emotions start to tick up. Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day is far less muted in her attacks on the former secretary of state and former president Bill Clinton: “Bill Clinton’s walk down memory lane at the convention conveniently left out his sexual abuse of a 22-year-old intern in his oval office,” she says. ”And it also left out Hillary Clinton’s personal and vicious attacks on the numerous women who were sexually harassed and abused by her husband.”
“MONICA! MONICAAAAA!” a man shouts at the stage.
6:50 p.m. Diamond and Silk, a well-known opening act for Trump, take the stage at the Trump rally, unfazed by roaring applause. The crowd — which seemed relatively small at first but has quickly expanded — is piling into the arena.
“To my black brothers and sisters, we can not allow her to fool us and lure us in with a bottle of hot sauce, running around doing the nay nay — and she’s not even concerned about your next payday,” Diamond says to huge cheers and laughs.
6:54 p.m. Suddenly, the music at Pence’s rally changes. It’s a little bit louder and a lot more country, with Kid Rock belting out: “I was born free I was born free, born free.”
6:57 p.m. Pence’s crowd starts to chant “USA! USA! USA! USA!” After a few rounds, they give up.
7:01 p.m. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) asks the crowd: “Are you ready?” When the response is a bit lackluster, he tries again: “Let me ask you that again: Are you ready?” He then introduces Pence, who — right on schedule — comes bounding onto stage, the lights reflecting off his thick white hair. There’s an awkward lag between the music and applause ending and Pence beginning to speak.
“Hello, Ohio!” Pence says to applause and a couple of whistles. “I am so grateful to be with you today.” Several people snap photos and video. A dad puts his young daughter on his shoulders so she can better see the vice presidential nominee.
7:04 p.m. Diamond is still warming up the audience at the Trump rally: “When I say ‘all aboard,’ I need you all to say, ‘choo choo.’ All aboard!?” Diamond shouts to the audience.
“Choo, choo!” the crowd echoes.
7:05 p.m. A musical cellphone goes off at Pence’s rally, and everyone looks around to see where the sound is coming from.
7:05 p.m. An announcement plays over the loudspeaker in Florida: “If a protester starts demonstrating in the area around you, please do not touch or harm the protester. This is a peaceful rally. In order to notify the law enforcement officers of the location of the protester, please hold a rally sign over your head and start chanting, ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ ”
People start chanting along.
7:06 p.m. Near the back of the arena in Sunrise, a group of eight college-aged men in tank tops and shorts start shouting “Crooked Hillary!” as they look for seats. They continue yelling boisterously as they make their way past rows of seated rally-goers. Nobody pays them much attention.
7:08 p.m. After praising Trump for speaking his heart and not “tip-toeing around those thousands of rules,” Pence — often looking down at notes as he speaks — accuses reporters of latching onto things Trump has said instead of digging into Clinton’s record. The crowd cheers. A baby cries.
“You know what they’re not talking about?” Pence said, as a woman guessed: Hillary? “They’re not talking about anything having to do with Hillary Clinton.”
The crowd starts to loudly chant: “Lock her up! Lock her up!” While Trump will often smirk and listen to this chant, Pence cuts it off to tell the crowd about the father of the Orlando shooter attending Clinton’s rally in Orlando. Chatter breaks out in the crowd. A woman shouts: “Murderer!”
7:11 p.m. In Ohio, the baby resumes crying.
7:15 p.m. Pence praises Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), calling him a “great governor” — far from how Trump usually describes him. The crowd boos.
7:15 p.m. In Florida, the audience tries to start a wave around the arena. Those efforts stop when a Trump video begins playing on an oversized screen hanging over the center of the arena. “We have to give [law enforcement] more authority and we have to give them more respect,” Trump says. “We have to respect our police.”
7:18 p.m. As Pence attacks the Obama administration for giving Iran $400 million in January, one guy in the audience boos and a female voice shouts: “Lock him up! Lock him up!” Another cellphone goes off.
7:25 p.m. Pence emotionally talks about his friendship with his late grandfather.
7:25 p.m. In Florida, Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” plays in its entirety as voters get restless.
7:32 p.m. After a series of unifying rallying cries, Pence wraps up his remarks.
“We have but one choice, and I’m here to tell you, Ohio, that man is ready, this movement is ready, this nation is ready — let’s go make Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States of America!” Pence said, before bounding off the stage to shake hands, give autographs and pose for photos.
Brooks and Dunn’s “Only in America” begins to play.
7:37 p.m. Austin Netting, a 20-year-old college student, shows off a photo that he just took with the governor. Pence also signed the underside of the brim of his red Make America Great Again hat. Trump had signed the top after a rally in St. Clairsville in June. What does he think of Pence?
“Don’t know much about him yet but obviously Mr. Trump does,” Netting said. “I think Mr. Pence is a good guy. He’s a Christian. I’m a Christian myself.”
7:39 p.m. As Pence disappears backstage, his crowd quickly disperses.
7:59 p.m. Pence’s motorcade leaves the civic center parking lot. A man walking to his car points to the line of black SUVs and tells his wife: “There he goes.”
8:04 p.m. A flock of photographers in Florida gets in position for Trump’s entrance. The crowd, cajoled by sudden and dramatic music, starts cheering and shouting, “Trump, Trump, Trump!”
8:18 p.m. Sensing some movement, everyone pulls out their cellphones to document the moment with pictures and selfies. A small boy in the back of the arena screams indiscriminately: “Truuuuuuuuuump!”
8:20 p.m. But first, another opening act: former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
“I’m a lot more afraid of a Hillary Clinton presidency than I am of getting a mosquito bite in South Florida,” Huckabee said, making a joke about the Zika virus one day after it claimed its first victim in the United States.
8:26 p.m.Trump takes the stage, nearly 90 minutes late. “Wow, what a crowd. What a crowd!” Trump bellows after a long walk toward the lectern. “Look at this! August, hot, tremendously bad weather today. You had a vicious storm and look at this place. Thank you very much.”
8:30 p.m. The crowd erupts in chants of “Lock her up!” for the first time since Trump took the stage, but the fourth time of the evening.
8:36 p.m. Trump takes aim at President Obama, accusing him of being the “founder” of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS: “In fact, in many respects, you know they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS, okay? He’s the founder! He founded ISIS! And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
8:45 p.m. Shortly after Trump takes the stage, protesters and supporters clash — at times violently — several times in a matter of minutes. At one point, protesters and supporters become locked in a tug of war over a fabric sign. A minute later, a protester is pushed out by security.
8:46 p.m. A heavyset man involved in getting the protesters out of the venue bursts back into the arena after the protesters are gone. He throws his hands triumphantly into the air. The arena bursts into applause.
8:48 p.m. Just a few moments later, more protesters disrupt the rally and are escorted out as well. It is the fourth interruption of the rally.
9:06 p.m. Trump jokes that the supporters seated behind him will be on television and are “going to be famous.” He transitions to criticizing the Clinton campaign over Seddique Mateen, whose son was identified as the man who committed the Orlando nightclub massacre in June, attending one of her rallies.
“When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign. So when she said, ‘Well, we didn’t know . . . ’ They knew! But how did you like that picture?” Trump said.
9:07 p.m. On social media, critics are pointing out that the audience includes disgraced former congressman Mark Foley, who resigned his seat in 2006 amid allegations of sexual harassment by at least one underage male congressional page. He is sitting directly behind Trump.
9:23 p.m. Trump blasts Clinton for criticizing his temperament: “I don’t like Hillary’s temperament. Because her temperament is the temperament of a loser. My temperament’s gonna win, folks,” Trump said.
9:24 p.m. People start filing out of the arena as Trump begins to wrap up. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones begins to play as Trump hits the rope line. Supporters rush toward the barricade to get a picture.
Johnson reported from Cambridge, Ohio. DelReal reported from Sunrise, Fla.