TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are chasing votes in Florida, a state all but essential to the Republican’s pathway to another term as both nominees turn their focus to encouraging voters to turn out on Election Day.
More than 73 million Americans have already voted, absentee or by mail, and Trump and Biden are trying to energize the millions more who will vote in person on Tuesday. While the Election Day vote traditionally favors Republicans and early votes tend toward Democrats, the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States, has injected new uncertainty about the makeup of the electorate.
Watch Trump’s remarks in the video player above.
Trump and Biden will appear in Tampa hours apart on Thursday, visiting the western end of the state’s Interstate 4 corridor, the area known for its rapid residential growth, sprawling suburbs and status as an ever-changing, hard-fought battleground during presidential elections.
The visit comes as Biden has framed his closing argument to voters on responsible management of the COVID-19 pandemic and Trump promises that the nation is on course to “vanquish the virus” even as it sets records for confirmed new infections.
“Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” Biden said Wednesday during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “I do promise this: We will start on day one doing the right things.”
Trump spent Wednesday in Arizona, where relaxed rules on social distancing made staging big rallies easier.
Thousands gathered in close proximity without wearing masks — a trend that was expected to continue through more than a dozen events in the final sprint to Election Day.
Trump’s reelection campaign also said it’s postponing a Thursday night rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for a few days as Tropical Storm Zeta bears down on the Northeast.
The president’s campaign said in a statement that the outdoor rally has been postponed until Monday because of a wind advisory that has gusts reaching 50 mph.
Several North Carolina counties were under tropical storm watch Thursday afternoon. North Carolina is a battleground state that Trump won in 2016 but that Democrat Joe Biden is pushing for in 2020.
Miller reported from Washington and Madhani from Bullhead City, Ariz. Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe in Wilmington, Del.; Michelle Price in Bullhead City, Ariz.; Kathleen Ronayne in Phoenix; and Will Weissert in Washington contributed to this report.