STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Biden, Trump focus on battleground states in 11th-hour pitch

President Donald Trump plans to intensify an already breakneck travel schedule in the final full week of the presidential campaign.

Posted: Oct 26, 2020 7:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to intensify an already breakneck travel schedule in the final full week of the presidential campaign, overlooking a surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House.

Trump is expected to hit nearly a dozen states in his last-ditch effort to recover ground from Democrat Joe Biden, including Sunday’s trip to Maine and Tuesday’s to Nebraska. Both states award electoral votes by congressional district and could be crucial in a tight election. He will hold 11 rallies in the final 48 hours alone.

Biden, too, plans to pick up his travel schedule, aiming to hit the six battleground states the campaign sees as key to his chances, some with socially distanced in-person events and others with virtual events. On Tuesday the former vice president is traveling to Georgia, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in more than a quarter-century but where polls show a tight race.

The final week of the campaign is colliding with deepening concerns about a public health crisis in the U.S. Trump is eager for voters to focus on almost anything else, worried that he will lose if the election becomes a referendum on his handling of the pandemic. Biden is working to ensure the race is just that, hitting Trump on the virus and presenting himself as a safer, more stable alternative.

The stakes were clear this weekend as the White House became the locus for a second outbreak of the virus in a month. Several close aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the virus, including his chief of staff, Marc Short. Pence, though, was insistent on maintaining his aggressive political calendar, even though he was deemed a “close contact” of his adviser, claiming the privileges of being an “essential employee.”

The latest outbreak has served as a potent metaphor for the divergent approaches the Trump and Biden campaigns have taken to the virus. On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that “we’re not going to control the pandemic” and the focus should be on containment and treatment. Trump aims to pack thousands of people, most without face coverings, across some of the upper Midwestern states bearing the brunt of the surge.

“We want normal life to resume,” Trump said Sunday. “We just want normal life.”

Meadows, pressed to explain why the pandemic cannot be reined in, said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.” He told CNN’s ”State of the Union” that the government was focused on getting effective therapeutics and vaccines to market.

Biden, in a statement, said Meadows’ comments continued with the Trump administration waving “the white flag of defeat” in the face of the virus.

Biden’s team argues the coronavirus is likely to blot out any other issues that might come up in the final days of the campaign — including Biden’s recent debate-stage comment in which he affirmed he’d transition away from oil, later walked back as a transition away from federal subsidies. That strategy appeared to pay off as the outbreak in Pence’s staff refocused the national conversation once again on the pandemic.

Trump and his team, meanwhile, have struggled to settle on a closing message, with the undisciplined candidate increasingly trusting his gut over his advisers. He’s grasped for dirt on his Democratic rival and used apocalyptic terms to describe a Biden presidency, but Biden has thus far proven more resilient to such attacks than Trump’s 2016 rival.

“You can certainly expect that (Biden) will focus on COVID as it continues to, unfortunately, rise all across the country,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in an interview. “It’s it is disrupting people’s lives and people are looking for a leader to put in place plans to get it under control.”

With more than a third of the expected ballots in the election already cast, it may become increasingly challenging for Trump and Biden to reshape the contours of the race. Biden is leading Trump in most national polls and has an advantage, though narrower, in many key battlegrounds.

Biden is also sitting on more campaign cash than Trump and is putting it to use, blanketing airwaves with a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over the final two weeks. The incessant campaign ads from Biden feature a mix of his aspirational message with stinging critiques of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

It’s part of what Josh Schwerin, the senior strategist for Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, says has helped Biden gain an advantage.

“Those dual messages — continuing to draw a contrast with Trump, but also offering that positive aspirational message, giving people a reason to vote for Biden and not just against Trump — continues to be the best way forward. And we’re seeing it work,” he said.

Indeed, Biden has seen his favorability ratings steadily rise over the course of the campaign, despite a barrage of attacks from Republicans, while Trump remains underwater in such polls. Democrats have been heartened, too, by their lead in the record numbers of early votes that have been cast across a number of battleground states — though they caution that Republicans are more likely to turn out on Election Day and certain to make up ground.

Still, multiple Democrats described the “2016 PTSD” that’s keeping them up at night a week out from Election Day. In 2016, Hillary Clinton also enjoyed a lead in national and some state polls, and Democrats say their complacency then doomed their candidate. Now, with the pandemic and record numbers of mail and absentee ballots injecting a greater level of uncertainty into the election, Democrats are reluctant to let their guard down.

Biden’s campaign will focus in the final week on turning out what they’ve dubbed the “Biden coalition” — Black and Latino voters, as well as suburban, college-educated whites, women and older voters disaffected by Trump.

“What we see consistently is there aren’t a whole lot of undecided voters left, and at this stage of the race it’s really about turnout. It's about educating voters to make sure they know how to vote, and it’s about making sure that that they turn out,” Bedingfield said.

Biden’s campaign has emphasized the need for Democrats to stay engaged even as the polls seem to favor their candidate. In a recent memo, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said that “in a number of critical states we are functionally tied,” and warned supporters that “every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire.”

Bedingfield says that’s a message the campaign will continue to push through Nov. 3.

“One thing that we have been very vocal about is that we do believe the race is tighter than a lot of the public polling would suggest,” she said. “We are constantly working to ensure that that people understand that there is an urgency here, and that we can’t get complacent.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318763

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin673361116
Ramsey28256505
Anoka22583228
Dakota22414190
Washington14207116
Stearns13976117
St. Louis8991112
Scott859755
Wright795543
Olmsted681134
Sherburne601541
Clay508957
Carver486215
Kandiyohi420522
Rice419237
Blue Earth418016
Crow Wing364034
Otter Tail321723
Chisago315612
Nobles309930
Benton305751
Winona284830
Douglas266837
Mower265823
Polk261224
Morrison233829
Lyon223011
Beltrami219218
McLeod217914
Becker209416
Goodhue208428
Steele19917
Isanti194217
Itasca193923
Carlton191316
Todd182514
Nicollet164026
Mille Lacs157031
Freeborn15546
Le Sueur148811
Cass146010
Brown145715
Waseca139811
Pine13958
Meeker13289
Roseau12194
Martin117420
Hubbard115725
Wabasha10781
Redwood97919
Chippewa9147
Cottonwood8964
Renville89529
Dodge8700
Watonwan8634
Wadena8156
Sibley8004
Rock7889
Aitkin77830
Pipestone74118
Fillmore7240
Houston7134
Yellow Medicine66512
Pennington6638
Kanabec62713
Swift5998
Murray5953
Faribault5732
Pope5531
Clearwater5268
Stevens5243
Marshall5059
Jackson4961
Lake4326
Koochiching3996
Wilkin3925
Lac qui Parle3863
Unassigned38559
Lincoln3651
Norman3537
Big Stone3242
Mahnomen3044
Grant2806
Kittson2298
Red Lake2163
Traverse1491
Lake of the Woods1011
Cook770

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 229327

Reported Deaths: 2395
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33896336
Linn14340166
Scott1132587
Black Hawk10968137
Woodbury10428129
Johnson964137
Dubuque927491
Story684522
Pottawattamie644070
Dallas641757
Sioux372725
Webster363936
Cerro Gordo359046
Marshall351246
Clinton333844
Buena Vista307314
Muscatine293469
Des Moines291620
Warren283214
Plymouth277142
Wapello257372
Jones233615
Jasper224344
Marion206821
Lee205017
Carroll199922
Bremer196712
Henry18417
Crawford176916
Benton171821
Tama154940
Jackson146513
Washington146215
Delaware144921
Dickinson140311
Boone138311
Mahaska127927
Wright12706
Clay11924
Buchanan118510
Hardin116510
Page11524
Hamilton11429
Clayton11238
Cedar109313
Harrison108630
Kossuth10847
Calhoun10757
Mills10647
Floyd106216
Fayette105610
Lyon10538
Butler10266
Poweshiek99713
Winneshiek98413
Iowa97612
Winnebago93124
Cherokee9014
Hancock8737
Sac8738
Grundy87111
Louisa86818
Chickasaw8664
Allamakee82811
Cass81823
Mitchell8035
Appanoose79912
Humboldt7855
Union7796
Shelby77311
Emmet76824
Guthrie76315
Franklin74321
Jefferson7252
Unassigned6950
Madison6924
Palo Alto6574
Keokuk6157
Pocahontas5644
Howard5619
Osceola5341
Greene5310
Ida50013
Clarke4904
Davis4739
Montgomery47011
Taylor4673
Monroe44712
Adair4418
Monona4402
Worth3690
Fremont3663
Van Buren3615
Lucas3296
Decatur3200
Wayne3027
Audubon3002
Ringgold2202
Adams1712
Rochester
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 21°
Albert Lea
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 23°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 30°
Charles City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 30°
Our Quiet Stretch of Weather Continues
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sara's Tuesday Evening Forecast

Image

Recycling Christmas Lights

Image

Giving Tuesday

Image

Residents of Shady Oaks getting counseling

Image

Behind the curtain of Frontline Healthcare workers

Image

Somerby Country Club Has Virtual Holiday Events

Image

Autumn Ridge Church Dinates To Food Shelf

Image

Sean's Weather 12/1

Image

Eviction Moratoriums expiring

Image

National Believe Week benefits the Make a Wish Foundation

Community Events