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July 09, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence is returning to Philly a month after Rittenhouse protest

Vice President Mike Pence, whose June visit to Philadelphia drew hundreds to Rittenhouse Square in protest, is returning to the city later this month.

Pence will be at the Union League of Philadelphia, the private Center City club that didn't admit women until well into the 1980s, to host a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Lou Barletta on July 23. Barletta is challenging Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Casey.

Though Barletta isn't as well-known compared to Casey, who assumed office in 2007, he has ties with local Republican forces, including Bob Asher, chairman of the National Republican Committee in Montgomery County – and support from President Donald Trump, who has been pushing for Barletta, a four-term congressman and former mayor of Hazleton, for months. Barletta was an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's attempted immigration reform and voted for Trump's tax cuts.

Barletta trails Casey in campaign fundraising, with just $1.3 million to Casey's reported $10 million war chest. Pence is a high-profile endorsement for a fundraiser.

Pence's June 18th visit to Philadelphia coincided with growing public concern and anger over U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement separating thousands of children from their parents at the U.S. border of Mexico, leading to a mass rally prompted by his visit. Pence was at the Rittenhouse Hotel for a Republican Governors Association fundraiser.

The Union League has played host to Trump and several of his political allies in the last few years. The traditionally Republican club, initially founded in 1862 in support of President Abraham Lincoln's policies, welcomed Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign season and hosted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February. A Trump-Pence visit there in early 2017 also initiated protests.