Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Trump, Biden fight for Florida, appeal for Tuesday turnout

Published:Friday | October 30, 2020 | 12:16 AM

TAMPA, Florida (AP):

President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are encouraging voters to turn out in person on election day next Tuesday, both campaigning in Florida, a state all but essential to the Republican’s pathway to another term.

More than 73 million Americans have already voted, absentee or by mail, and Trump and Biden are trying to energise the millions more who will vote on Tuesday. While the election day vote traditionally favours Republicans and early votes tend towards Democrats, the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States, has injected new uncertainty.

“So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd,” Trump said in a tweet, predicting dire consequences if Biden is elected.

But economists warned that the economy is already weakening again and facing renewed threats as confirmed viral cases surge, hiring has slowed, and federal stimulus help has largely run out.

Biden, in a statement, criticised Trump over the report. “The recovery is slowing, if not stalling,” he said, “and the recovery that is happening is helping those at the top but leaving tens of millions of working families and small businesses behind.”

The visits come 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.

The president had been scheduled to hit another Southern battleground state, North Carolina, on Thursday evening but cancelled his event in Fayetteville as Tropical Storm Zeta brought wind gusts reaching 50mph to the area.

Whirlwind Tour

Trump is holding three rallies on Saturday in Pennsylvania before launching on a whirlwind tour of battlegrounds, including Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania in the closing 48 hours of the race.

Biden, meanwhile, heads later in the week to three more states Trump won in 2016: Iowa, Wisconsin and then Michigan, where he’ll hold a joint Saturday rally with former President Barack Obama. Biden’s campaign also announced he will visit Minnesota on Friday, hours before Trump holds a rally in one of the few Clinton-voting states Trump is hoping to pick up this year.

The pandemic’s consequences were escalating, with deaths climbing in 39 states and an average of 805 people dying daily nationwide – up from 714 two weeks ago. The sharp rise sent shock waves through financial markets, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 900-plus points.