Trump, Bi­den rally vot­ers to turn out at Florida polls

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Zeke Miller, Alexan­dra Jaffe and Aamer Madhani Zeke Miller, Alexan­dra Jaffe and Aamer Madhani are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

TAMPA, Fla. — Pres­i­dent 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 en­er­gize the mil­lions more who will vote 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.

Trump and Bi­den were ap­pear­ing in Tampa hours apart on Thurs­day. They’re vis­it­ing the western end of the state’s In­ter­state 4 cor­ri­dor, an area known for rapid res­i­den­tial growth, sprawl­ing sub­urbs and its sta­tus as an ev­er­chang­ing, hard­fought bat­tle­ground dur­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

“You hold the power. If Florida goes blue, it’s over,” Bi­den told sup­port­ers Thurs­day.

Trump was cel­e­brat­ing a new fed­eral es­ti­mate that the econ­omy grew at a stun­ning 33.1% an­nual rate in the Ju­lyseptem­ber quar­ter — by far the largest quar­terly gain on record — mak­ing up ground from its epic plunge in the spring, when the erup­tion of the coro­n­avirus closed busi­nesses and threw tens of mil­lions out of work.

“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, crit­i­cized 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.

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 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 Fri­day hours be­fore Trump holds a rally in one of the few Clin­ton-vot­ing states Trump is hop­ing to pick up this year.

But with­out Florida’s 29 elec­toral votes, Trump’s path to vic­tory is ex­cep­tion­ally dif­fi­cult.

Erin Schaff / New York Times

Sup­port­ers of pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den at­tend a drivein rally in Co­conut Creek, Fla. Bi­den and Pres­i­dent Trump cam­paigned Thurs­day in Florida, a state that is es­sen­tial to Trump’s path­way to vic­tory.

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